Libya- Unrest and US Policy by BrianCharles


									Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

Christopher M. Blanchard
Acting Section Research Manager

April 25, 2011

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                                                                        Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

Over 40 years ago, Muammar al Qadhafi led a revolt against the Libyan monarchy in the name of
nationalism, self-determination, and popular sovereignty. Opposition groups citing the same
principles are now revolting against Qadhafi to bring an end to the authoritarian political system
he has controlled in Libya for the last four decades. The Libyan government’s use of force against
civilians and opposition forces seeking Qadhafi’s overthrow sparked an international outcry and
led the United Nations Security Council to adopt Resolution 1973, which authorizes “all
necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians. The United States military is participating in
Operation Unified Protector, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military operation to
enforce the resolution. Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and other partner governments also are
participating. Qadhafi and his supporters have described the uprising as a foreign and Islamist
conspiracy and are attempting to outlast their opponents. Qadhafi remains defiant amid
continuing coalition air strikes, and his forces continue to attack opposition-held areas. Some
opposition figures have formed an Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC), which claims to
represent all areas of the country. They seek foreign political recognition and material support.

Resolution 1973 calls for an immediate cease-fire and dialogue, declares a no-fly zone in Libyan
airspace, and authorizes robust enforcement measures for the arms embargo on Libya established
by Resolution 1970 of February 26. As of April 21, U.S. military officials reported that U.S. and
coalition strikes on Libyan air defenses, air forces, and ground forces had neutralized the ability
of Muammar al Qadhafi’s military to control the country’s airspace. Coalition forces target pro-
Qadhafi ground forces found to be violating Resolution 1973 through attacks that threaten
civilians. President Obama has said the United States will not introduce ground forces, and
Resolution 1973 forbids “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”
On April 14, the United Kingdom and Qatar co-chaired the first meeting of the intergovernmental
Libya Contact Group, and the group agreed to develop a mechanism for providing financial
support to the ITNC. Qatar, Italy, Kuwait, France, and others have formally recognized the ITNC
as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Some reports suggest that some Contact
Group members have begun supplying defensive weaponry to opposition forces. The United
States and others continue to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced persons.

Until recently, the United States government was pursuing a policy of reengagement toward
Qadhafi after decades of confrontation, sanctions, and Libyan isolation. While U.S. military
operations continue, Obama Administration officials highlight a number of non-military steps the
U.S. government has taken to achieve Qadhafi’s ouster, such as new targeted sanctions
established in Executive Order 13566. Some Members of Congress expressed support for U.S.
military intervention prior to the adoption of Resolution 1973, while others disagreed or called for
the President to seek explicit congressional authorization prior to any use of force. Some
executive-legislative consultation occurred prior to the start of U.S. military operations, and, on
March 21, President Obama sent a letter to Congress outlining U.S. military objectives and
operations, but not explicitly seeking congressional authorization. Several House and Senate
resolutions now seek to further define the goals and limits of future U.S. engagement in Libya.

Many observers believe that Libya’s weak government institutions, potentially divisive political
dynamics, and current conflict suggest that security challenges could follow the current uprising,
regardless of its outcome. In evaluating U.S. policy options, Congress may seek to better
understand the roots and nature of the conflict in Libya, the views and interests of key players,
and the potential consequences of military operations and other proposals under consideration.

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                                                                                                   Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

Popular Revolution and Current Conflict.....................................................................................1
   Background ..........................................................................................................................1
   Status as of April 25, 2011.....................................................................................................3
       Assessment .....................................................................................................................4
U.S. and International Responses ................................................................................................6
   Current U.S. Policy ...............................................................................................................7
       Administration Views and Action Prior to the Use of Force .............................................7
       No-Fly Zone, Arms Embargo, and Civilian Protection Operations ...................................9
       U.S. Humanitarian Operations....................................................................................... 10
       U.S. Engagement with and Assistance to the Libyan Opposition.................................... 11
   Congressional Action and Select Views ............................................................................... 12
       Select Legislation and Statements.................................................................................. 12
   The United Nations and Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 ................................. 14
   The Arab League and the African Union.............................................................................. 16
   The European Union and EU Member States....................................................................... 18
   The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ................................................................. 20
   Russia and China ................................................................................................................ 21
Prospects and Challenges for U.S. Policy .................................................................................. 22
   Possible Scenarios............................................................................................................... 23
   Possible Questions .............................................................................................................. 24
Libyan Political Dynamics and Profiles ..................................................................................... 25
   Political Dynamics .............................................................................................................. 25
   Qadhafi and the Libyan Government ................................................................................... 26
       Muammar al Qadhafi .................................................................................................... 26
       The Qadhafi Family and Prominent Officials: Selected Profiles..................................... 27
   Opposition Groups .............................................................................................................. 28
       Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) ............................................................... 28
       Prominent ITNC and Opposition Figures....................................................................... 30
       Opposition Military Forces............................................................................................ 31
       Exiles and Al Sanusi Monarchy Figures ........................................................................ 33
       The Muslim Brotherhood .............................................................................................. 34
       Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)/Libyan Islamic Movement for
          Change (LIMC) ......................................................................................................... 34
       Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM/AQIM)................................... 37

Figure 1. Map of Libyan Military Facilities, Energy Infrastructure, and Conflict..........................2
Figure 2. Political Map of Libya................................................................................................ 38

Author Contact Information ...................................................................................................... 39

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Popular Revolution and Current Conflict
For a summary of recent events and conflict assessment, see “Status as of April 25, 2011.”

Political change in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt helped bring long-simmering Libyan reform
debates to the boiling point in January and early February 2011. In recent years, leading Libyans
had staked out a broad range of positions about the necessary scope and pace of reform, while
competing for influence and opportunity under the watchful eye of hard-liners aligned with the
enigmatic leader of Libya’s 1969 revolution, Muammar al Qadhafi. Qadhafi has long insisted that
he holds no formal government position, but by all accounts he maintained his 40-plus year hold
on ultimate authority until recently as the “reference point” for Libya’s byzantine political system.
Ironically, that system cited “popular authority” as its foundational principle and organizing
concept, but it denied Libyans the most basic political rights. Tribal relations and regional
dynamics, particularly eastern regional resentments, also influence Libyan politics (see “Political
Dynamics” below).

Qadhafi government policy reversals on WMD and terrorism led to the lifting of most
international sanctions in 2003 and 2004, followed by economic liberalization, oil sales, and
international investment that brought new wealth to some in Libya. U.S. business gradually
reengaged amid continuing U.S.-Libyan tension over terrorism concerns that were finally
resolved in 2008. During this period of international reengagement, political change in Libya
remained elusive and illusory. Some observers argued that Qadhafi supporters’ suppression of
opposition had softened, as Libya’s international rehabilitation coincided with steps by some
pragmatists to maneuver within so-called “red lines.” The shifting course of those red lines had
been increasingly entangling reformers in the run-up to the outbreak of recent unrest. Government
reconciliation with imprisoned Islamist militants and the return of some exiled opposition figures
were welcomed by some observers. Ultimately, inaction on the part of the government to calls for
guarantees of basic political rights and for the drafting of a constitution suggested a lack of
consensus, if not outright opposition to meaningful reform among leading officials.

The current crisis was triggered in mid-February 2011 by a chain of events in Benghazi and other
eastern cities that quickly spiraled out of Qadhafi’s control. Although Libyan opposition groups
had called for a so-called “day of rage” on February 17 to commemorate protests that had
occurred five years earlier, localized violence erupted prior to the planned national protests. On
February 15 and 16, Libyan authorities used force to contain small protests demanding that police
release a legal advocate for victims of a previous crackdown who had been arrested. Several
protestors were killed. Confrontations surrounding their funerals and other protest gatherings
escalated severely when government officers reportedly fired live ammunition. In the resulting
chaos, Libyan security forces are alleged to have opened fire with heavy weaponry on protestors,
as opposition groups directly confronted armed personnel while reportedly overrunning a number
of security facilities. Popular control over key eastern cities became apparent, and broader unrest
emerged in other regions. A number of military officers, their units, and civilian officials
abandoned Qadhafi for the cause of the then-disorganized and amorphous opposition. Qadhafi
and his supporters denounced their opponents as drug-fueled traitors, foreign agents, and Al
Qaeda supporters. Amid an international outcry, Qadhafi has maintained control over the capital,
Tripoli, and other cities with the help of family-led security forces and regime supporters.

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                                Figure 1. Map of Libyan Military Facilities, Energy Infrastructure, and Conflict

   Sources: The Guardian (UK), Graphic News, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Energy Information Administration, Global Security, The Making of Modern Libya (Ali
   Abdullatif Ahmida, State University of New York Press, 1994). Edited by CRS.

                                                                         Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

Status as of April 25, 2011
Amid continuing NATO-led military operations to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution
1973, Libya’s civil conflict has reverted to the stalemate condition that prevailed prior to the
advance of pro-Qadhafi forces in early March. On the evening of March 17, the passage of the
resolution was greeted with euphoria by the encircled opposition movement in Libya, in spite of
their dire security situation and apparent inability to independently fend off better-armed and
better-organized ground forces loyal to Muammar al Qadhafi (see “The United Nations and
Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973” below). The no-fly zone and civilian protection
provisions of Resolution 1973 authorized foreign military intervention (see “No-Fly Zone, Arms
Embargo, and Civilian Protection Operations” below). On March 18, President Obama outlined
nonnegotiable demands to Qadhafi and his government for an end to violence and indicated the
United States was prepared to act militarily as part of a coalition to enforce the resolution and
protect Libyan civilians (see “Administration Views and Action Prior to the Use of Force”

Libyan military ground force operations against opposition- held areas continued in violation of
cease-fire pledges, and U.S. and coalition military operations began on March 19. Sea-launched
cruise missile attacks and air strikes targeted Libyan air defenses, air forces, command and
control infrastructure, and ground forces involved in attacks on civilians, including south of the
opposition stronghold of Benghazi. The coalition intervention reversed Qadhafi’s forces’ advance
on Benghazi and enabled some opposition forces to press retreating loyalist units westward along
the coastal road through the formerly rebel-held towns of Ajdabiya, Al Burayqah (Brega), and
Ra’s Lanuf. The disorganized, undisciplined nature of the opposition forces and shifts in the
intensity and focus of coalition air operations since have enabled Qadhafi forces to recover from
their late-March setbacks, and the opposition has retreated eastward once again to the town of
Ajdabiya. Continued fighting around Al Burayqah and Ajdabiya and the siege of the opposition-
held western town of Misurata have remained the focus of international attention.

As of April 25, U.S. and coalition officials stated that coalition military operations had destroyed
the ability of the Libyan military to control Libyan airspace and had reduced the capability of
Libyan ground forces by roughly 30%-40%. The no-fly zone called for in Resolution 1973 is in
place and is being enforced (see Figure 1 above) with U.S. support. Some air strikes are ongoing
against those Libyan ground force units that continue to besiege opposition-held towns and
against targets supporting operations by those Libyan military units. Coalition officials continue
to reiterate their calls for Libyan government forces to stand down.

Media reporting provides incomplete information about the strength, leadership, equipment,
training, and readiness of pro- and anti-Qadhafi forces. Most comprehensive open source
assessments of the Libyan military and security services predate the current fighting and are now
of limited use given the apparent fracturing of Libyan forces during the crisis. U.S. and coalition
government officials have made some public assessments but are not providing detailed
information on all of the specific targets and outcomes of coalition military operations. Reports
that sizeable mercenary forces are aiding Qadhafi’s cause have drawn some scrutiny, and
Resolution 1973 has authorized new measures to combat the introduction of new mercenary
forces to the conflict. Qadhafi has issued calls for volunteers and announced efforts to arm
civilian supporters across the country.

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                                                                           Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

Press accounts of recent fighting indicate that the Libyan military has deployed its equipment,
including tanks, artillery, fighter aircraft, anti-aircraft weapons, mortars, snipers, and helicopters,
in attacks on opposition forces and opposition-held cities. Opposition forces continue to deploy
military equipment seized during the initial uprising and as a result of subsequent fighting,
including small arms, rocket propelled grenades, multiple rocket launchers, and anti-aircraft
weaponry, in support of their advances westward. Some unconfirmed reports suggest that the
opposition is now receiving defensive weaponry from outside sources. Shifts in tactics by pro-
and anti-Qadhafi forces have complicated coalition air strike operations. Libyan military forces
have reportedly made efforts to disguise their movements and position themselves near civilians
to complicate targeting. Opposition forces have faced accidental strikes from NATO aircraft after
failing to properly identify themselves and after shifting to the use of armored vehicles without
communicating with the coalition.

The fast-moving developments and the relatively limited presence of international media in Libya
have combined to impose a degree of uncertain drama on the unfolding conflict. Weeks of
fighting and political maneuvering have shed some light on the strengths, weaknesses, and
positions of both sides. However, some important questions about the capabilities and goals of
key actors and forces remain unanswered (see “Opposition Groups” below). The call for a cease-
fire in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 has yet to be heeded by either side, and likely paths
toward a nonviolent political resolution of the conflict are not immediately apparent. An African
Union-sponsored ceasefire arrangement was rejected by the opposition in early April because it
failed to ensure Qadhafi and his family would no longer play a role in Libyan government.
Observers who initially expressed doubt about the ability of Qadhafi and his supporters to outlast
popular opposition forces enjoying international moral support saw the opposition pushed back
on its heels during debate about international military intervention. The opposition’s continued
weakness on the battlefield suggests a stalemate or a more protracted civil war could persist.
Nevertheless, spokesmen on both sides in Libya continue to express confidence in their ability to
prevail. U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said on April 22 that the
conflict is “moving toward a stalemate.”

Military operations to enforce Resolution 1973 and protect civilians are now destroying pro-
Qadhafi military forces that threaten civilians across Libya, but official U.S. statements
underscore that these operations are not directly coordinated with or designed to directly support
opposition military plans or operations. Many outside observers presume that air strikes are
creating powerful disincentives to continued loyalty to Qadhafi. However, outside military
intervention may motivate Qadhafi loyalists and some nationalist supporters. Qadhafi’s
committed base of supporters may be relatively small, but if faced with limited options and
determined enemies, they may prove dangerous, both to their opponents within Libya and
possibly to coalition partners abroad. From the perspective of opposition leaders, the potential
benefits of foreign military intervention are being considered alongside an appreciation for the
strong nationalist, anti-imperialist sentiments held by many Libyans.

How effective have U.S. and coalition military operations been?

U.S. civilian and military leaders, including President Barack Obama, have characterized U.S.
and coalition military operations to date as having successfully achieved limited military
objectives in support of Resolution 1973. President Obama insists that he does not plan to order
the use of military force to achieve the political objective of removing Qadhafi from power. On

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                                                                                         Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

March 25, U.S. Joint Staff Director Vice Admiral Bill Gortney stated that, as a result of coalition
military strikes, Qadhafi had “no air defense left to him and a diminishing ability to command
and sustain his forces on the ground. His air force cannot fly, his warships are staying in port, his
ammunition stores are being destroyed, communication towers are being toppled, and his
command bunkers are being rendered useless.”1 On March 28, Vice Admiral Gortney updated his
assessment by adding that coalition forces had struck the headquarters of the 32nd Brigade regime
security unit, which has been commanded by Qadhafi’s son Khamis, because the unit remained at
the forefront of operations against civilians. 2 On April 7, U.S. Africa Command Commander
General Carter Ham testified that as a result of coalition strikes “the regime has a significantly
degraded ability to continue to attack civilians” although a stalemate appeared more likely given
recent developments. General Ham also warned of difficulties created by shifts in tactics by pro-
Qadhafi forces and estimated that “many” of the “as many as 20,000” man-portable air defense
system missiles (MANPADs, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles) that were thought to be in
Libya before the conflict started “are now not accounted for.”3 Other estimates of Libya’s
MANPADs stockpile range from 400 to 2,000 and suggest that much of the inventory was made
up of SA-7 missiles acquired from the Soviet Union in the late 1970s and early 1980s.4

Are opposition military operations since March 19 sustainable?

The opposition counteroffensive that unfolded after the start of coalition airstrikes in mid-March
faltered, just as previous opposition volunteer-led advances westward along the Libyan coastal
road toward the town of Sirte in early March were easily disrupted and reversed by the Libyan
military.5 On March 28, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Commander General Carter Ham
warned that, “The regime still vastly overmatches opposition forces militarily. The regime
possesses the capability to roll them back very quickly. Coalition air power is the major reason
that has not happened.”6 In a separate interview, he added, “Among my concerns right now is that
the opposition will over-reach in their haste to move west. They are not a match for the regime
forces. If they move hastily and get destroyed, then there’s nothing to stop the regime from
moving right back down the coast road.”7 Developments since March 28 appear to have partially
confirmed General Ham’s concerns. Opposition fighters have struggled to maintain gains and
remain locked in indecisive skirmishes with pro-Qadhafi forces near the cities of Al Burayqah

    DOD News Briefing, Vice Adm. Gortney, Libya Operation Odyssey Dawn, Washington, DC, March 25, 2011.
    DOD News Briefing, Vice Adm. Gortney, Libya Operation Odyssey Dawn, Washington, DC, March 28, 2011.
  General Ham said “what has changed dramatically has been the tactics applied by the regime forces, where they have
shifted from their traditional use of conventional armored equipment, which was easily identifiable as regime forces
and therefore easily targeted. They now operate largely in civilian vehicles. And when those vehicles are intermixed
with the opposition forces, it's increasingly difficult to -- to discern which is -- which is which. Secondly, we have seen
an increase tactic by the regime forces to put their military vehicles adjacent to civilian aspects -- so mosques, schools,
hospitals, civilian areas, which -- would result in significant civilian casualties through the strike of those assets.” He
did not elaborate on his estimate of Libya’s MANPADs stockpile. Testimony of U.S. AFRICOM Commander General
Carter Ham, Senate Armed Services Committee, April 7, 2011.
  Jane's Intelligence Review, “Holy grails - Libya loses control of its MANPADS,” April 15, 2011.
  In early March, opposition military leaders reportedly asked popular volunteer forces to reconsider an immediate
campaign against pro-Qadhafi strongholds until new supplies could be obtained and training and organization
completed. Reports on current opposition operations describe more organized training efforts and some leadership from
experienced military officers. See U.S. Open Source Center (OSC) Report GMP20110308825013, “Libya: National
Council Asks Revolutionaries To Wait Before Moving Toward Sirte,” March 8, 2011.
  Kareem Fahim and David D. Kirkpatrick, “Rebel Advance Halted Outside Qaddafi’s Hometown,” New York Times,
March 28, 2011.
  ABC News Online, Excerpt of Martha Raddatz Interview with Gen. Carter F. Ham, March 28, 2011.

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                                                                                   Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

and Ajdabiyah. On April 7, General Ham said that a stalemate appeared “more likely” than it had
before NATO assumed command of all operations on March 31. For more information on
opposition forces, see “Opposition Military Forces” below.

U.S. and International Responses
The United States, the European Union, Russia, the Arab League, and the African Union have
joined other international actors in condemning the Libyan’s government’s violent response to the
uprising. Qadhafi and his supporters maintain that they have not purposefully targeted civilians
and that the international response is an overreaction based on misinformation or a conspiracy.
Some parties, including the United States and the European Union, have called for Qadhafi to
step down. He maintains that he has no formal political authority to relinquish, and his supporters
claim they are acting legitimately to put down an internal rebellion.

The United States, the European Union, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and other countries have
enacted targeted sanctions on Qadhafi and his key supporters, and they have limited financial
transactions with Libya and arms shipments to the country. On February 26, 2011, the United
Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1970, placing targeted financial and
travel sanctions on Qadhafi and certain individuals and imposing an arms embargo on Libya. The
Resolution did not authorize the use of force by third-parties. Debate over further action
culminated in the adoption of Resolution 1973 on March 17, which calls for an immediate cease-
fire and dialogue, declares a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace, authorizes robust enforcement
measures for the arms embargo established by Resolution 1970, and authorizes member states “to
take all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of
attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation
force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” The passage of the resolution reflected
sufficient, if not universal, international recognition of a need for intervention. Nevertheless,
differences of opinion persist among key outside parties over the legitimacy and utility of specific
policy options, including military operations to protect Libyan civilians (see “No-Fly Zone, Arms
Embargo, and Civilian Protection Operation” below).

The United States began military operations against Libyan military targets on March 19. As of
April 21, a coalition consisting of some members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) plus partner countries such as Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, was
supporting military operations to protect civilians, enforce the arms embargo, and/or enforce the
no-fly zone in support of Resolution 1973. NATO has assumed command for all three
components of the coalition operations under the guise of Operation Unified Protector (see “The
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)” below).

The U.S. government and its allies also are working to respond to the repatriation and
humanitarian needs of thousands who have fled Libya and remain in temporary Tunisian and
Egyptian border transit camps. According to the International Organization for Migration, as of
April 13, over 500,000 people have fled the country since the fighting began, and just under
10,000 people remained in the transit camps.8 Humanitarian needs inside Libya are not fully

  See “Total Number of Individuals Arrived in Egypt, Tunisia, Niger, Algeria, Chad, and Sudan from Libya,” and “Key
Information on Population Movements” in United States Government Fact Sheet, Libya Complex Emergency,
Humanitarian Fact Sheet #19, Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, April 14, 2011.

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known, and may change as the conflict continues. The United Nations has negotiated an
agreement with Libyan government to provide food and medical relief to the besieged city of
Misurata, where opposition forces are holding out against government forces and the population
and displaced third-country nationals face difficult humanitarian conditions.

Current U.S. Policy
Beginning in early March, U.S. military forces were deployed in the Mediterranean region to
participate in humanitarian relief operations and serve in a reserve capacity pending decisions
about military intervention. Coalition military operations to enforce U.N. Security Council
Resolution 1973 began on March 19 and continued under the auspices of the U.S.-led Operation
Odyssey Dawn through the assumption of command by NATO on March 31. U.S. military forces
remain engaged, but are now undertaking fewer missions under the auspices of NATO-led
Operation Unified Protector than they initially did under the auspices of U.S. Operation Odyssey
Dawn. Since March 19, U.S. forces and their coalition partners have succeeded in dismantling
Libya’s air defenses and striking pro-Qadhafi units that continue to target opposition held areas
and threaten Libyan civilians.

Administration Views and Action Prior to the Use of Force
The immediate U.S. response to the outbreak of unrest in Libya in February reflected standing
U.S. calls for regional parties to avoid violent confrontation and prioritized efforts to evacuate
U.S. citizens and ensure the security of U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel in Libya.9 Air and
sealift arrangements eventually secured the departure of hundreds of U.S. citizens, and the State
Department withdrew all U.S. government personnel and suspended activity at its temporary
embassy facilities for the duration of the crisis. A series of strong statements, diplomatic
consultations, and targeted actions followed in the wake of the initial response:

     •   On February 23, President Barack Obama called the bloodshed in Libya
         “outrageous” and “unacceptable” and said that his Administration was looking at
         the “full range of options we have to respond to this crisis.”10
     •   On February 25, President Obama formally reversed the policy of rapprochement
         that he and President George W. Bush had pursued with Libya since late 2003.
         Executive Order 13566, released that day, declares a new national emergency
         stemming from the threat posed by the situation in Libya, imposes new targeted
         financial sanctions on Qadhafi and other Libyan officials, blocks certain Libyan
         funds under U.S. jurisdiction, and restricts U.S. persons’ financial transactions
         with certain Libyan individuals and entities. 11 The Administration expanded the
         list of designated entities and individuals on March 15.12

 Libyan demonstrators attacked and burned the former U.S. Embassy in December 1979, without apparent Libyan
government intervention.
   Full text of President Obama’s remarks at
   Executive Order 13566 of February 25, 2011, Blocking Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions Related to
Libya, Federal Register, Presidential Documents, March 2, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 41, pp. 11315-8. Full text
available at
   U.S. Department of the Treasury, “Press Release: Moving to Further Isolate Qadhafi Regime, Treasury Designates

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    •    On March 3, President Obama summarized his views at a joint press appearance
         with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, stating
              The violence must stop. Muammar Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and he must
              leave. Those around him have to understand that violence that they perpetrate against
              innocent civilians will be monitored and they will be held accountable for it.… And so
              to the extent that they are making calculations in their own minds about which way
              history is moving, they should know history is moving against Colonel Gaddafi.13

    •    On March 7, President Obama reiterated his “very clear message to those who
         are around Colonel Qaddafi. It is their choice as to how to operate moving
         forward. They will be held accountable for whatever violence will continue to
         take place there.”14 He added that the United States “will stand with [the Libyan
         people] in the face of unwarranted violence and the continued suppression of
         democratic ideals that we’ve seen there.” The President did not specifically
         describe what support the United States planned to provide inside Libya.
    •    On March 14, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met privately with
         opposition Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) foreign affairs
         representative Mahmoud Jibril in Paris. The United States has not formally
         recognized the ITNC or publicly signaled its intent to provide material support to
         the group, although the Administration has allowed the Council to establish a
         representative office in Washington, DC. (See “Interim Transitional National
         Council (ITNC),” below.)
    •    On March 14, President Obama reiterated his call for Qadhafi to step down, but
         did not elaborate on the specific steps his Administration was prepared to take
         beyond those already announced to support that outcome.
The advance of Muammar al Qadhafi’s military forces toward the opposition-held cities of
eastern Libya raised the prospect that Libyan civilians could be targeted and a humanitarian crisis
could ensue. During the week of March 17, Qadhafi and his supporters offered clear terms to
opposition fighters and the people of Benghazi in a series of nationally broadcast statements via
state television and radio. These statements characterized the military advance as a “humanitarian
operation” and called on citizens disarm in exchange for “general amnesty” and “protection” or to
choose exile.15 Statements said “We will not show mercy to any traitor,” and those refusing
Qadhafi’s terms were told that they were “rats,” “apostates,” and “traitors” and would face a
“purge” that would proceed “room by room” and “individual by individual.”16 On March 17,
Qadhafi promised “relief and bounties” to the “beloved” people of Benghazi and pledged to,

Libyan Foreign Minister and Identifies 16 State-Owned Companies,” March 15, 2011.
   Video available at
   Steve Hendrix, Leila Fadel and Debbi Wilgoren, “Gaddafi forces attack rebels anew, even as regime appears to seek
talks,” Washington Post, March 7, 2011.
   OSC Report GMP20110316950007, “Libyan Army Announces Advance on Benghazi,” March 16, 2011; and, OSC
Report GMP20110317676005, “Al-Qadhafi Asks Benghazi People To Abandon ‘Traitors;’ Vows to ‘Confront’
NATO,” March 17, 2011.
   “Statement on Libyan TV Says Qadhafi Forces Await 'Zero Hour' To Retake Benghazi,” OSC Report
GMP20110316950075, March 16, 2011; and, OSC Report GMP20110317676005.

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“wipe out this filth.”17 The Obama Administration engaged in an intense flurry of diplomatic
consultation that contributed to the passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 on March

On March 18, President Obama made a statement on U.S. policy in light of the new U.N.
resolution. 18 The President stated that “a cease-fire must be implemented immediately,” and “all
attacks against civilians must stop.” He specified that “Qaddafi must stop his troops from
advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misurata, and Zawiya, and establish
water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach
the people of Libya.” President Obama underscored that the terms were “not negotiable” and
warned Qadhafi that if he did not “comply with the resolution, the international community will
impose consequences, and the resolution will be enforced through military action.” He identified
the “focus” of U.S. policy as “protecting innocent civilians within Libya, and holding the Qaddafi
regime accountable.” Lastly, President Obama stated that “the United States is not going to
deploy ground troops into Libya. And we are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined
goal—specifically, the protection of civilians in Libya.”

No-Fly Zone, Arms Embargo, and Civilian Protection Operations19
On March 21, President Obama wrote to congressional leaders announcing that U.S. military
forces had commenced operations in Libya on March 19 “to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe
and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya” and “for
the purposes of preparing a no-fly zone.”20 The President stated that the “strikes will be limited in
their nature, duration, and scope” and that “their purpose is to support an international coalition as
it takes all necessary measures to enforce the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973.”
He added that, “United States military efforts are discrete and focused on employing unique U.S.
military capabilities to set the conditions for our European allies and Arab partners to carry out
the measures authorized by the U.N. Security Council Resolution.” President Obama cited his
“constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief
Executive,” and stated he was reporting to Congress “to keep the Congress fully informed,
consistent with the War Powers Resolution.”21

In an address to the nation on March 28, President Obama identified important U.S. strategic
interests in “preventing Qadhafi from overrunning those who oppose him,” including preventing
a massacre that might create destabilizing refugee flows into Tunisia or Egypt.22 He also cited the

  OSC Report GMP20110317676005.
  President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President on the Situation in Libya, March 18, 2011. Available at
   For detailed information about U.S. military operations under Operation Odyssey Dawn, including initial
congressional authorization debates and estimates of the potential costs of U.S. operations, see CRS Report R41725,
Operation Odyssey Dawn (Libya): Background and Issues for Congress, coordinated by Jeremiah Gertler, and CRS
Report R41701, No-Fly Zones: Strategic, Operational, and Legal Considerations for Congress, coordinated by
Jeremiah Gertler.
   President Barack Obama, Letter from the President Regarding the Commencement of Operations in Libya, March
21, 2011. Available at
   For information about the War Powers Resolution, see CRS Report R41199, The War Powers Resolution:
After Thirty-Six Years, by Richard F. Grimmett.
   President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on Libya, March 28, 2011. Available at

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possibility that regional leaders would assume violent repression was acceptable and that the U.N
Security Council would not act to uphold peace and security. President Obama emphasized his
view that “broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.”

The civilian protection provisions of Resolution 1973 authorize “all means necessary” short of
foreign military occupation, which, given the security situation described above, has to date
included a wide range of military action, including air strikes on pro-Qadhafi ground forces. The
no-fly zone provisions of Resolution 1973 ban “all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab
Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians” with the exception of humanitarian flights,
evacuation flights, flights authorized for the protection of civilians, and “other flights which are
deemed necessary by States acting under the authorization … to be for the benefit of the Libyan
people.” Member states are authorized to act nationally or “through regional organizations” to
enforce the ban and are now doing so. All authorized flights are to be coordinated with the U.N.
Secretary General and the Arab League Secretary General. The resolution calls on U.N. member
states to “to provide assistance, including any necessary over-flight approvals, for the purposes of
implementing” the no-fly zone and civilian protection operations.

The U.S. military forces now on station have a broad range of offensive and defensive assets at
their disposal, in addition to the ability to assist in medical and relief operations. The U.S.
military’s newest combatant command, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) took the lead on
Operation Odyssey Dawn, overseeing U.S. forces delivering humanitarian relief,23 enforcing the
no-fly zone and arms embargo, and conducting strikes to protect civilians in Libya. General
Carter F. Ham, who assumed command of AFRICOM on March 9, serves as theater commander
for U.S. Libya operations and U.S. forces now contributing to the NATO-led Operation Unified
Protector (see “The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)” below). Tactical U.S. operations
for Operation Odyssey Dawn were coordinated by a Joint Task Force under Admiral Sam
Locklear. Admiral Locklear serves jointly as Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and
Africa, and as Commander of Allied Joint Force Command, Naples, which now has operational
responsibility for NATO’s Operation Unified Protector in Libya and the Mediterranean.

U.S. Humanitarian Operations
The Administration also has deployed joint State Department/USAID humanitarian assessment
teams (HATs) to the Tunisia-Libya and Libya-Egypt borders.24 As of April 14, USAID had
provided $20 million to implementing partners for humanitarian relief purposes, while the State
Department had provided $27 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the International Committee of the Red
Cross to support the repatriation of third-country nationals, the establishment of transit camps,

   Under the auspices of Operation Odyssey Dawn, U.S. Africa Command, with support from Air Mobility Command
and Naval Forces Europe-Africa assets, oversaw airlift operations via military facilities in Greece, Italy, and Germany
to deliver U.S.-donated humanitarian relief supplies to the Libyan-Tunisian border and repatriate Egyptian nationals
from Tunisia.
   Updates on the humanitarian situation and U.S. civilian agencies activities are available from the U.S. Agency for
International Development,
libya/template/index html.

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and medical relief and other programs for those fleeing the conflict.25 The Administration also
estimates that the U.S. government has spent $1.1 million on in-kind transfers of third-country
nationals from Tunisia to Egypt. On March 7, President Obama authorized the issuance of up to
$15 million from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) fund to
support “contributions to international, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and
payment of administrative expenses of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the
Department of State, related to the humanitarian crisis resulting from the violence in Libya.”26

U.S. Engagement with and Assistance to the Libyan Opposition
The infusion of popular support and regime defectors to the general opposition cause inside Libya
was welcomed by many established opposition groups, even if the specific political demands of
newly active opposition supporters and their compatibility with the agendas of the established
groups were not clear. Key current questions for U.S. policymakers include determining the
identities and backgrounds of various opposition leaders and groups, assessing the capabilities of
armed opposition supporters, and determining the intentions, goals, and legitimacy of opposition
elements. On March 28, U.S. Vice Admiral Bill Gortney stated his view that “the opposition is
not well organized, and it is not a very robust organization.” He further indicated that the United
States “would like a much better understanding of the opposition,” and that U.S. officials are
“trying to fill in” what he characterized as “knowledge gaps.” The U.S. State Department has
dispatched a senior diplomat to Benghazi to serve as a liaison to the ITNC. On April 12, a State
Department spokesman said “we’re getting a better sense as a result of these meetings of both the
[I]TNC and its vision for Libya going forward.” The extent of current U.S. engagement with non-
ITNC groups is not clear. On April 21, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that U.S.
knowledge of Benghazi-based opposition groups has improved, but that “there is still a lot we
don’t know about the opposition.”27

On April 15, the Administration notified Congress of its intent to authorize the “drawdown of up
to $25 million in non-lethal commodities and services” from U.S. government inventories and
resources “to support key U.S. government partners such as the Transitional National Council
(TNC) in efforts to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in
Libya.”28 The commodities listed in the initial notification are designated as “non-lethal” and
“may include but not be limited to, vehicles, fuel trucks and fuel bladders, ambulances, medical
equipment, protective vests, binoculars, and non-secure radios.” Some press reports also suggest
that President Obama has authorized U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct unspecified missions
in Libya in support of the Libyan opposition. The Administration has declined to comment on
those reports. As of April 25, President Obama had not ruled out the provision of direct U.S.
security assistance to the Libyan opposition.

 USG Humanitarian Fact Sheet #19, Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, April 14, 2011.
 Presidential Determination No. 2011-8, Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related to Libya,
March 7, 2011.
 Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright, DOD
News Briefing, April 21, 2011.
  Memorandum of Justification Pursuant to Section 552(C)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act for a Drawdown to
Support Efforts to Protect Civilians and Civilian-Populated Areas Under Threat of Attack in Libya, April 15, 2011.

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Congressional Action and Select Views
Since the uprising began in mid-February, many Members of Congress and Senators have spoken
out in condemnation of Qadhafi forces’ violence against civilians in Libya, and the Senate
adopted a resolution to that effect (S.Res. 85, see below). Some Members of Congress made
statements urging the imposition of a no-fly zone in support of the Libyan opposition, while
others have expressed doubt about the utility of such an operation or other military intervention.
Other Members have suggested that the Administration should seek explicit congressional
authorization for the use of U.S. Armed Forces with regard to the Libyan conflict. Some Members
of Congress continue to debate the rationale, timing, authorization, goals, costs, and implications
of ongoing U.S. military operations and U.S. policy toward Libya more broadly. The views and
proposed legislation described below reflect a selection of congressional statements for
illustrative purposes and are not exhaustive.

Select Legislation and Statements
     •   On March 1, the Senate adopted by unanimous consent S.Res. 85, “strongly condemning
         the gross and systematic violations of human rights in Libya, including violent attacks on
         protesters demanding democratic reforms.”

     •   On March 15, 2011, Representative Ron Paul introduced H.Con.Res. 31, which cites the
         war powers enumerated in Article One of the U.S. Constitution and cites the War Powers
         Resolution (P.L. 93-148)29 in stating “the sense of Congress that the President is required
         to obtain in advance specific statutory authorization for the use of United States Armed
         Forces in response to civil unrest in Libya.” The resolution specifically notes the possible
         imposition of a no-fly zone as one of the possible actions that inspired the legislation.

     •   On March 15, 2011, Senator John McCain introduced S.Res. 102, which

              calls on the President … to recognize the Libyan Transitional National Council, based in
              Benghazi but representative of Libyan communities across the country, as the sole
              legitimate governing authority in Libya; … to take immediate steps to implement a ‘no-
              fly zone’ in Libya with international support; and … to develop and implement a
              comprehensive strategy to achieve the stated United States policy objective of Qaddafi
              leaving power.

     •   Senator Richard Lugar released a statement on March 15 that read, “It is doubtful that
         U.S. interests would be served by imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. If the Obama
         Administration is contemplating this step, however, it should begin by seeking a
         declaration of war against Libya that would allow for a full Congressional debate on the
         issue.” Senator Lugar raised these concerns directly with Under Secretary of State for
         Political Affairs William Burns in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting on
         March 17.

     •   On March 16, Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) Chairman Senator John
         Kerry said,

  For more information about the War Powers Resolution and its relation to recent U.S. military operations involving
no-fly zones, see CRS Report R41199, The War Powers Resolution: After Thirty-Six Years, by Richard F. Grimmett.

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                                                                                   Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

              The international community cannot simply watch from the sidelines as this quest for
              democracy is met with violence. The Arab League’s call for a U.N. no-fly zone over
              Libya is an unprecedented signal that the old rules of impunity for autocratic leaders no
              longer stand. Time is running out for the Libyan people. The world needs to respond
              immediately to avert a humanitarian disaster. The Security Council should act now to
              heed the Arab League’s call [for the imposition of a no-fly zone]. (See “The Arab
              League and the African Union” below.)

Debate within the SFRC at a March 17 hearing on the Middle East revealed differences of
opinion among committee members and between some Senators and the Administration with
regard to the imperative to intervene, the likely benefits and drawbacks, the need for
congressional authorization for the use of U.S. military forces, and the likelihood that Al Qaeda or
other violent Islamists could take advantage of the current situation or future unrest to threaten
Libyan and international security. The range of views discussed in that hearing largely reflect the
range of views that were prevailing in the Congress as a whole prior to the start of U.S. military

The congressional response to the start of U.S. military operations has featured expressions of
support, expressions of opposition, and calls for further consultation and clarity on the part of the
President and his Administration. On March 23, Speaker of the House John Boehner wrote a
letter to President Obama, posing a number of specific questions about the goals, command,
funding, and metrics for U.S. military operations in Libya and stating:30

              I and many other members of the House of Representatives are troubled that U.S.
              military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American
              people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America’s
              role is in achieving that mission. In fact, the limited, sometimes contradictory, case
              made to the American people by members of your Administration has left some
              fundamental questions about our engagement unanswered.… It is regrettable that no
              opportunity was afforded to consult with Congressional leaders, as was the custom of
              your predecessors, before your decision as Commander-in-Chief to deploy into combat
              the men and women of our Armed Forces.

The White House and executive branch agencies since have engaged in further consultations with
Congress regarding U.S. policy and military operations in Libya. Several bills proposed since the
start of military operations seek to address the question of the authorization of the use of force,
the costs of U.S. military operations, and the Administration’s current strategic goals and
operational plans.

     •   Two proposed House resolutions, H.Res. 208 and H.Res. 209, would direct the
         Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State to transmit copies of any and all
         documents and/or correspondence created on or after February 15, 2011, that
         “refers or relates to … consultation or communication with Congress regarding
         the employment or deployment of the Armed Forces for Operation Odyssey
         Dawn or military actions in or against Libya.”
     •   H.R. 1212 would direct the President to “cease the use of force in, or directed at,
         the country of Libya by the United States Armed Forces unless a subsequent Act

  Speaker Boehner Letter to President Obama on Military Action in Libya, March 23, 2011. Available at:

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         specifically authorizes such use of force.” The bill would prohibit the use of
         appropriated funds for the use of force by the U.S. military in Libya.
     •   H.Con.Res. 32 states the sense of the Congress that the President should “obtain
         specific statutory authorization for the use of United States Armed Forces in
         Libya within 60 days” or terminate related U.S. military operations.
     •   H.R. 1323 would require the Administration to provide an estimate of the cost of
         U.S. military operations in Libya in FY2011 and to identify identical
         corresponding recisions to non-security discretionary spending accounts to offset
         the cost of U.S. Operation Odyssey Dawn and participation in NATO’s Operation
         Unified Protector.
     •   S.Res. 146 would state the sense of the Senate that “United States military
         intervention in Libya, as explained by the President, is not in the vital interests of
         the United States.” It would also call on the President to obtain authorization for
         further engagement and call on NATO allies and the Arab League to make
         contributions to ongoing operations commensurate with their stated interests.
     •   S.Res. 148 would state the sense of the Senate that President Obama should seek
         authorization for the use of force in Libya and would call on the President to
         submit “a detailed description of United States policy objectives in Libya, both
         during and after Muammar Qaddafi's rule; a detailed plan to achieve those
         objectives; a detailed estimate of the full cost of the United States military
         operations in Libya and any other actions required to implement the plan; and a
         detailed description of the limitations the President has placed on the nature,
         duration, and scope of United States military operations in Libya, as referenced
         in his March 21, 2011, letter to Congress.”

The United Nations and Security Council Resolutions 1970 and
On February 22, the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) met in private to discuss the situation in
Libya, and released a press statement that “condemned the violence and use of force against
civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators, and expressed deep regret at the
deaths of hundreds of civilians.” Members of the Council further “called for an immediate end to
the violence and for steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through
national dialogue.”31

On February 26, the Security Council debated and unanimously adopted Resolution 1970, which

     •   establishes an arms embargo prohibiting weapons transfers to Libya, while
         providing for third party inspection of suspicious cargo and for consideration of
         possible exemptions by the Committee established by paragraph 24 of the
     •   grants the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction over crimes committed
         in Libya on or after February 15, 2011;

  United Nations Security Council Department of Public Information, “SC/10180, AFR/2120: Security Council Press
Statement on Libya,” February 22, 2011.

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     •   imposes targeted financial and travel sanctions on Muammar al Qadhafi, certain
         family members, and some prominent supporters;
     •   calls on member states to support humanitarian response efforts; and,
     •   provides for further consideration of the situation in Libya, while not authorizing
         the use of military force by member states with regard to the situation in Libya.
On March 1, the U.N. General Assembly, acting on the recommendation of the Human Rights
Council on February 25, considered the situation in Libya, and adopted, by consensus, a
resolution suspending Libya from “the rights of the membership” on the Human Rights Council.
This was the first time a member state has been removed from the Council since it replaced the
Commission on Human Rights in 2006.32 The General Assembly will review Libya’s future role
on the Council “as appropriate.” On March 11, the Human Rights Council established an
independent three-member Commission of Inquiry “to investigate alleged violations of
international human rights law in Libya.” The Commission is scheduled to report in June 2011.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has named former Jordanian Foreign Minister
Abdul Ilah Khatib as his Special Envoy for Libya. Khatib has completed a visit to Tripoli and
opposition controlled eastern Libya to assess the situation and meet with senior Libyan officials.
He reiterated calls for an end to violence. On March 24, the Secretary General reported on his
Special Envoy’s preliminary findings and said, “We continue to have serious concerns … about
the protection of civilians, abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian
law, and the access of civilian populations to basic commodities and services in areas currently
under siege.” He added that Khatib’s mission “was too brief to reach definitive conclusions about
the human rights situation, but they found many worrying signs, including threats and incitement
against the armed opposition.” U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya Rashid Khalikov also
visited Libya over the weekend of March 11 to March 13. The sanctions committee established
pursuant to Resolution 1970 has commenced work and issued preliminary guidelines for its
operations.33 The committee will be chaired by José Filipe Moraes Cabral of Portugal through the
end of 2011.

Resolution 1970 did not authorize the use of force by member states with regard to the conflict in
Libya or the enforcement of the arms embargo established by the resolution. As such, subsequent
debate focused on the relative necessity and implications of military intervention and the potential
for further authorization from the Security Council.

On March 17, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1973, which

     •   demands the immediate establishment of a cease-fire and a complete end to
         violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians;
     •   authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting
         nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in
         cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures,
   United Nations General Assembly, A/RES/65/265, “Suspension of the rights of membership of the Libyan Arab
Jamahiriya in the Human Rights Council,” March 3, 2011.
   Committee information available at Security Council Committee
Established Pursuant to Resolution 1970 (2011) Concerning the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, “Chairman’s report pursuant
to paragraph 24 (e) of Security Council resolution 1970 (2011),” March 28, 2011; and, “Provisional Guidelines of the
Committee for the Conduct of its Work,” March 25, 2011.

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                                                                                      Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

            notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011) [Note: paragraph 9
            establishes an arms embargo on Libya], to protect civilians and civilian populated
            areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi,
            while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan
       •    establishes a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in
            order to help protect civilians;
       •    authorizes robust enforcement inspection measures for the arms embargo
            established by Resolution 1970, including measures to prevent the movement of
            mercenary forces to Libya;
       •    directs the U.N. Secretary General to convene an eight-person Panel of Experts to
            monitor the situation in Libya and implementation of Resolutions 1970 and 1973;
       •    signals the Security Council’s determination to ensure that assets frozen pursuant
            to Resolution 1970 “shall, at a later stage, as soon as possible be made available
            to and for the benefit of the people of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya;”
       •    calls on member states to enforce a ban on flights by any aircraft registered in the
            Libyan Arab Jamahiriya or owned or operated by Libyan nationals or companies;
       •    expands targeted financial and travel sanctions on Libyan individuals and entities
            and extends sanction provisions to persons found to be violating the arms
            embargo established by Resolution 1970.

The Arab League and the African Union
International concern about the conflict in Libya is shared and in many senses amplified within
regional bodies such as the Arab League and the African Union, of which Libya and its neighbors
are members. The United States, the European Union, and other parties have looked to regional
actors as they seek to gauge the political ramifications of potential policy options, including the
ongoing NATO-led military intervention. Both the Arab League and the African Union have taken
strong stands against Qadhafi supporters’ use of violence against civilians and opposition groups.
Both bodies also have expressed some concern about the scope and potential effects of outside

The Arab League
On February 22, the League of Arab States met in Cairo and suspended Libya from League
meetings.34 On March 12, the Arab League Council met again to discuss the situation in Libya
and endorsed on a consensus basis a request to the U.N. Security Council:

            to take measures to impose a no-fly zone over the movement of Libyan military planes
            immediately, and to establish safe areas in the places exposed to shelling as preventive
            measures allowing to provide protection for the Libyan people and the residents in Libya

     See Arabic original statement at:

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          from different nationalities, taking into account the regional sovereignty and integrity of
          neighboring countries.35

The Arab League Council further signaled its intent to contact and cooperate with the Libyan
opposition Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC). Pro-Qadhafi Libyan Foreign Ministry
officials rejected the move and called it “an unacceptable deviance from the charter of the Arab
League and its practices since its inception.”

The Arab League statement was welcomed by international observers who viewed regional
support as a prerequisite for any direct intervention, including any multilateral military operation
to impose a no-fly zone. The U.S. government referred to the decision as “important.” Other
observers cautioned that the apparent consensus at the Arab League meeting masked underlying
dissension among regional governments with regard to specific types of military intervention and
strong opposition to any foreign military intervention among some regional citizens.36

Those concerns appeared to be borne out when coalition military strikes against Libyan ground
forces appeared to cause some dissension among some Arab governments and leaders after the
start of operations on March 19. Some in the region strongly supported the Arab League
statement and have expressed concern that third parties, including the United States, have not
provided sufficient support to the Libyan opposition. On March 21, Arab League Secretary
General Amr Moussa said that, from the Arab League’s perspective, the purpose of military
operations and Resolution 1973 is “not to give the rebels support. It is not a question of
supporting a regime, a government or a council.”37 He predicted that if Muammar al Qadhafi
remains in control of some or all of Libya then the result could be “a prolonged case of civil war
and tension and destruction of Libya.”

Popular reactions to the new Security Council action in different countries vary, and popular
views and government positions could shift dramatically depending on the scope, course, and
outcome of military intervention, including the imposition of a no-fly zone and strikes on Libyan
ground forces. Resolution 1973 recognizes “the important role of the League of Arab States in
matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security in the region,” and
requests that the member states of the Arab League “cooperate with other Member States in the
implementation of” measures taken pursuant to the resolution to protect Libyan civilians.

The Obama Administration has sought “active Arab partnership.”38 Qatar has deployed six
Mirage fighter aircraft and two C-17A aircraft for the no-fly zone and relief operations. Qatari
fighter aircraft are now participating in no-fly zone patrols from Souda Bay, Crete. On March 28,
Qatar announced that it recognizes the ITNC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan
  OSC Report GMP20110314950010, “Arab League Urges U.N. to Impose No-Fly Zone Over Libya,” March 12,
   There are conflicting reports from unnamed Arab official sources that some governments opposed the decision. On
March 17, Algerian diplomats informed CRS that their government did not oppose the Arab League Council decision,
contrary to some press reports. Algeria has urged coordination with the African Union, stressed that any no-fly zone
decision must be taken by the U.N. Security Council, and maintains its general “opposition to any foreign intervention
in Libya,” a position it maintained with regard to uprising in Tunisia and Egypt. Syria’s representative also is rumored
to have expressed reservations about the decision and has warned against foreign intervention in Libya.
   Raghida Dergham, “Interview with Amr Moussa: The Goal in Libya Is Not Regime Change,” International Herald
Tribune, March 23, 2011.
  Testimony of Under Secretary of State William Burns, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March 17,

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people. Some press reports suggest that Qatar also may be providing some arms to the Libyan
opposition, but Qatari officials have not confirmed or denied those reports. The United Arab
Emirates has pledged six F-16 and six Mirage fighter aircraft for the no-fly zone operation.
Jordan and Morocco reportedly plan to provide non-combat support to coalition operations.

The African Union
The African Union (AU) has condemned the use of violence against civilians in Libya and has
dispatched a fact-finding mission to investigate the crisis. The AU moves surprised some
observers given that Qadhafi has provided significant funding to support the AU budget in recent
years and Qadhafi had been elected to serve as AU president in 2009.39 However, the AU has
stopped short of taking collective punitive action against Libya or Qadhafi. The AU has named an
ad hoc high level committee to engage directly with Libyan parties and African governments. The
ad hoc committee is made up of the AU Commission president and the current presidents of Mali,
Uganda, the Republic of Congo, Mauritania, and South Africa. Resolution 1973 takes note of the
AU committee, and calls for intensified efforts “to find a solution to the crisis which responds to
the legitimate demands of the Libyan people.” The AU continues to call for an “immediate
cessation of all hostilities,” and participants at a high level consultative meeting on Libya in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 25 issued a roadmap calling for “the protection of civilians and
the cessation of hostilities; humanitarian assistance to affected populations…; initiation of a
political dialogue between the Libyan parties in order to arrive at an agreement on the modalities
for ending the crisis; establishment and management of an inclusive transitional period; and
adoption and implementation of political reforms necessary to meet the aspirations of the Libyan
people.”40 The ad hoc committee’s attempt to broker a cease-fire faltered in early April, after the
opposition rejected an AU cease-fire proposal on the grounds that Qadhafi and his family would
not be barred from further political participation.

The European Union and EU Member States
Like the United States, the European Union (EU) had pursued a policy of engagement with the
Qadhafi government in recent years, and several EU member states reestablished deep economic
ties with Libya. European states have long been important consumers of Libyan oil and natural
gas, although officials have expressed confidence in recent weeks that disruptions of Libyan
energy supplies to the European market will not have significant consequences. Until the
outbreak of violence in mid-February 2011, engagement efforts at the EU level were marked by
ongoing negotiations over the terms of an EU-Libya Framework Agreement and the conclusion of
a technical and financial cooperation agreement with Libya in conjunction with the European
Commission’s European Neighborhood Policy. These initiatives have been suspended in line with
an EU decision on February 28 to impose an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Muammar
al Qadhafi, his family, and some of his prominent supporters.41

The EU sanctions now in place reflect the terms of the arms embargo and targeted sanctions
mandated in UNSC Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and expand them to include a visa ban and asset

   African Union (AU), Communiqué of the 261st Meeting of the Peace and Security Council, February 23, 2011.
   AU, Communiqué, Consultative Meeting on the Situation in Libya, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 25, 2011.
   See European Council Decision 2011/137/CFSP, February 28, 2011; and, Council Regulation (EU) 204/2011,
“Concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya,” March 2, 2011.

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freezes on additional individuals. The EU expanded its targeted sanctions list on March 10 and on
March 23 to include Libya’s National Oil Company and other oil institutions, Mustafa Zarti, the
director of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA, the government’s sovereign wealth fund), and
five Libyan financial institutions, including the LIA and Libya’s Central Bank.42 The European
Council of Heads of State and Government met on March 11 and issued a “Declaration on the
EU’s Southern Neighborhood and Libya,” stating that “Colonel Qadhafi must relinquish power
immediately,” but stopping short of endorsing military action to achieve that goal.43 The Council
stated it considers the opposition ITNC “a political interlocutor.” Prior to the start of coalition
military operations, EU member states took a range of positions on the conditions under which
they might support military intervention and the necessary authorizations and proper mechanisms
for doing so. Some EU member states such as the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Greece,
Denmark, and Italy have taken an active role in the military operations, while others, such as
Germany have declined to endorse or actively participate in the civilian protection or no-fly zone
aspects of the NATO-led military intervention.44 On March 25, European Council President
Herman Van Rompuy reiterated the joint European Union position by stating:

         Kadhafi must go, and we want a political transition, led by the Libyans themselves, and
         based on a broad based political dialogue. We also stand ready to help a new Libya, both
         economically, and in building its new institutions. The humanitarian situation in Libya and at
         its borders remains a source of serious concern and that’s why we will continue to provide
         humanitarian assistance in Libya.

On the humanitarian front, as of April 19, the EU, acting through the European Commission, and
EU member states had committed €98.5 million (~$144.2 million) in cash and in-kind donations
to support the creation and maintenance of transit facilities, to provide relief to individuals, and to
repatriate EU and third-country nationals. 45 An EU civil protection team is operating in Tunisia,
and a team of humanitarian affairs experts has been deployed to Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya in
support of U.N. and EU operations. Several EU member states continue to carry out their own
bilateral responses to the humanitarian emergency and are providing material and financial
support to international organizations and regional entities in coordination with the United States
and other donors. Member states such as Italy and Malta are particularly concerned about
increased numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers fleeing Libya for EU territory. Qadhafi has
attempted to leverage these fears in public statements as a means of influencing EU decisions.

Press reports suggest that the European Union has held consultations and completed planning for
a military operation “to secure sea and land corridors inside the country” to protect the delivery of
humanitarian assistance to Misurata and areas where civilians are at risk. Any deployment of
European Union forces would require authorization from the U.N. Security Council.

   See Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 233/2011, March 10, 2011, implementing Article 16(2) of
Regulation (EU) No 204/2011 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya; and, Council Decision
2011/178/CFSP of 23 March 2011 amending Decision 2011/137/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of the
situation in Libya.
   Extraordinary European Council Declaration on the EU’s Southern Neighborhood and Libya, March 11, 2011.
   On March 17, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said, “we won't take part in any military operation and I
will not send German troops to Libya.”
   European Commission, Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, Factsheet Libyan Crisis, April 19, 2011.

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)46
As of March 31, after nearly two weeks of coalition air operations under U.S. command, the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) assumed command and control of coalition military
operations in Libya. According to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the goal of
NATO’s Operation Unified Protector (OUP) is “to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas
under threat of attack from the Gaddafi regime.” This entails: (1) enforcing a UN-mandated arms
embargo; (2) enforcing a no-fly zone over Libyan territory; and (3) protecting civilians and
civilian population areas from being attacked by military forces from the Qadhafi regime. OUP is
commanded by Canadian Air Force Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, headquartered at the
Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy. He reports to Joint Force Commander U.S. General
Sam Locklear, who in turn reports to NATO Supreme Allied Commander U.S. Admiral James

As of April 5, 17 NATO member states and partner countries, including the United States, had
committed military forces to the NATO mission. 47 This includes 195 aircraft and 18 naval vessels.
Since taking over command of military operations, allied fighter planes have conducted an
average of approximately 150 sorties daily, over one-third of which have been to either identify or
strike ground targets.48

The decision to bring coalition military operations under NATO command and control capped
several weeks of increasing allied involvement in the mission. Since March 8, NATO has been
conducting 24-hour air surveillance of Libyan territory and the Central Mediterranean, using
AWACS aircraft deployed as part of NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor, NATO’s long-standing
counterterrorism and maritime security operation in the Mediterranean Sea.49 On March 23,
NATO launched a maritime operation to enforce the arms embargo against the Libyan regime.
Naval vessels and aircraft participating in the operation are charged with monitoring the Central
Mediterranean off the Libyan coast and, if necessary, interdicting and diverting any vessels
suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries in violation of the arms embargo. On March 24,
the allies agreed to take command of air operations to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. The
first no-fly zone missions under NATO command began on Sunday, March 27. Finally, also on
March 27, NATO Secretary General Rasmussen announced that the alliance would expand the
scope of its mission to include implementing all military aspects of UNSCR 1973, including the
protection of civilians and civilian areas through possible air strikes on ground forces loyal to

   Prepared by Paul Belkin, Analyst in European Affairs, ext. 7-0220.
   In addition to the United States, NATO member states Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands,
Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom have deployed fighter planes to the region. Non-NATO member states Qatar,
Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates have also deployed fighter jets. Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Turkey have
either committed ships to enforce the UN arms embargo or are providing other limited military support to the mission.
   From March 31 through April 21, NATO-led air forces conducted 3,148 air sorties and 1,311 strike sorties to
“identify and engage” targets in Libya. NATO JFC Naples, Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR – Key Facts and
Figures, April 5, 2011; and, NATO JFC Naples Operational Media Update for 20 April. For details on the ongoing
military operation NATO’s daily Operational Media Update, available at http://www
   For more information on NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor see
http://www htm.

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In spite of statements underscoring NATO unity on the mission to date, the planning and
operational phases have also been marked by significant levels of discord within Europe and
NATO. A key point of contention has been the amount of flexibility allied governments have
granted their forces in order to protect civilians and civilian areas, as called for in paragraph 4 of
UNSCR 1973. Although NATO forces are authorized to strike ground targets that pose a threat to
civilians, only seven of the fourteen NATO member states participating in the mission are
reportedly conducting airstrikes.50 The Dutch, Italian, and Spanish governments, for example,
have thus far prohibited their planes from striking ground targets.

A second, broader point of contention has been that only half of NATO’s 28 member states are
offering military support to the mission. French and British officials, whose countries are
shouldering most of the burden in the Libya operation, have repeatedly called on their allies to
offer more military assistance. Officials from NATO member states such as Germany and Poland,
on the other hand, have openly questioned the utility of combat operations and have voiced
skepticism about the long-term goals of the mission. 51 In the face of such apparent disunity within
the alliance, some observers question how long France and the UK will be able to lead the
ongoing military operation and indeed, whether the operation can succeed.

Russia and China
Russia and China abstained from the vote on Security Council Resolution 1973. Russia’s
representative stated that “any attacks against civilians and other violations of international
humanitarian law and human rights must immediately and unconditionally cease,” and noted
Russia’s view that the quickest solution would be to demand an “immediate cease-fire.”52 China
called for an end to attacks on civilians but linked its abstention to its opposition to “the use of
force in international relations” and the views of Arab and African governments. Since March 19,
both governments have criticized coalition military operations, reiterated calls for an immediate
cease-fire, and warned of the potential for continued conflict to destabilize neighboring countries.
On March 28, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “We consider that intervention by the
coalition in what is essentially an internal civil war is not sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council
resolution.”53 On April 14, the heads of state of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (the
BRICS countries) met at a summit and stated the following:

         We wish to continue our cooperation in the UN Security Council on Libya. We are of the
         view that all the parties should resolve their differences through peaceful means and dialogue
         in which the UN and regional organizations should as appropriate play their role. We also
         express support for the African Union High-Level Panel Initiative on Libya.54

   “Libya: Where do NATO countries stand?”, April 15, 2011.
   Germany abstained from UNSCR 1973 and, on March 23, withdrew its naval assets in the Mediterranean from
NATO command. On March 28, German officials reportedly signaled that at least two German navy vessels would be
placed back under NATO command, but would not be available for use in Operation Unified Protector. The vessels
will continue to participate in Operation Active Endeavor. On March 25, in what was portrayed as an effort to ease the
allied burden in other NATO operations, the German parliament authorized German forces to take over command of
AWACS surveillance operations in Afghanistan with a deployment of up to 300 additional military personnel to the
   United Nations Security Council Meeting Record, S/PV.6498, March 17, 2011.
   Steve Gutterman, “No UN mandate to attack Gaddafi forces: Russia,” Reuters, March 28, 2011.
   South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Sanya Declaration on BRICS, April, 14, 2011.

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Prospects and Challenges for U.S. Policy
Fast-moving events and independent decisions by a range of Libyan actors and U.S. coalition
partners shape the context in which U.S. officials are pursuing U.S. national security interests
with regard to Libya. Administration officials and some Members of Congress continue to debate
U.S. goals and the best means for ensuring that U.S. policy actions achieve short- and long-term
objectives. President Obama has outlined short- and long-term policy goals with regard to Libya
and has identified distinct policy tools for achieving them. In the short term, U.S. military
operations continue in support of the civilian protection, arms embargo, and no-fly zone
provisions of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. Administration officials believe that U.S.
targeted financial sanctions and U.S. support for the U.N.-mandated multilateral arms embargo
and financial and travel sanctions will contribute toward the longer-term goal of pressuring
Qadhafi to leave power. However, U.S. officials have stated that a range of scenarios are possible
and that U.S. policy must remain flexible in order to effectively shape and respond to
developments.55 The proposed extension of limited, non-lethal assistance to the Libyan opposition
for civilian protection purposes marks a shift in U.S. engagement with some of Qadhafi’s
opponents. Administration officials have declined to offer firm predictions for the time frame of
U.S. military operations or deadlines for the achievement political objectives.

President Obama has ruled out the use of U.S. military forces to overthrow Qadhafi’s government
or to provide coordinated military support to the Libyan opposition, even as U.S. and coalition
military operations continue to create conditions that have facilitated opposition military
advances. Libyan opposition figures are adamant that they will not accept an outcome that leaves
Muammar al Qadhafi in power in Tripoli. Armed opposition volunteers have advanced on areas
held by pro-Qadhafi military forces and supporters, and civilians and volunteers in Misurata
continue to defend themselves from attacks by pro-Qadhafi forces. Some opposition elements are
focused on maintaining law and order in opposition controlled areas, and some opposition media
sources are encouraging civilians to refrain from taking advantage of the unrest to commit crimes,
seek retribution, or settle personal disputes violently.

President Obama’s address to the nation March 28 signaled his Administration’s concern that the
conflict in Libya could have direct security implications and intangible political implications for
the broader Middle East as that region continues to grapple with widespread upheaval. The
apparent proliferation of small arms, man-portable air defense missile systems (MANPADS), and
some heavy weaponry among fighters on both sides has leading some outside counterterrorism
and arms trafficking experts to express concern about the conflict’s longer-term implications for
regional security.56 Given these circumstances, Administration officials and Members of Congress
may seek to better understand the range of possible outcomes and discuss their potential
implications and the authorization for and costs of potential U.S. responses in advance.

   On March 27, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “The idea that [Qadhafi] needs to go… goes without
saying. But how long it takes, how it comes about, remains to be seen. Whether elements of the army decide to go to
the other side, as some small elements have, whether the family cracks—who knows how this is going to play out.”
Bret Stephens, “The Libya Mission Was ‘Never About Regime Change’” Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2011.
   For example, these concerns were raised in C. J. Chivers, “Experts Fear Looted Libyan Arms May Find Way to
Terrorists,” New York Times, March 3, 2011. African Union communiqués have expressed concern about regional
stability, and some Sahel region governments have specifically warned about Al Qaeda supporters seizing control of
specific types of weapons and exploiting the weakness of government forces in Libya to expand their areas of operation
and sanctuary.

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Possible Scenarios
Continued Opposition Advances. Some observers highlight what they view as inherent tension
between the benefits that opposition forces are deriving from coalition operations and the
provisions of Resolution 1973 that call for an immediate cease-fire and protection of all Libyan
civilians. For the United States, reconciling a long-term objective of regime change with short-
term military action to enforce a U.N. resolution that does not expressly endorse that goal is a
particular challenge. The retreat westward of pro-Qadhafi forces and the advance of opposition
volunteers in their wake from March 19 through early April appeared to be a direct result of
coalition air operations, and some opposition military figures credited the change in their fortunes
directly to coalition air strikes against their pro-Qadhafi adversaries. Some U.S. military officers
shared this assessment, but stressed that direct coordination was not occurring.57 The inability of
the opposition to hold its gains and the return to stalemate conditions near Ajdabiya underscored
the challenges facing the rebel fighters.

It is unclear if coalition forces are prepared to militarily target opposition military forces if
opposition fighters attack or threaten pro-Qadhafi civilians. Some accidental strikes have
occurred and the coalition has enforced the no-fly zone by limiting opposition air operations. On
March 27, an unnamed senior Administration official responded to reporters’ questions about how
the coalition would respond if the opposition advance threatens civilians in areas held by Qadhafi
supporters, including Sirte, by saying that “our mission is to protect civilians against the threat or
actual use of military force. So when civilians are being attacked or threatened to be attacked,
those who are doing the attacking or threatening are the ones who are going to be subject to
military action.”58 On March 29, U.S. Admiral James Stavridis stated in Senate testimony that,
“In terms of whether or not we would parse through civilians versus rebels versus opposition
leaders versus Gadhafi forces, we would have to rely on our intelligence, particularly our signals
intelligence, to have a sense of what's occurring on the ground and then make conditions-based
decisions at that time.”59

Stalemate and Backlash. Skeptics who have highlighted Qadhafi’s decades of cunning and
survival in the face of armed domestic opponents and determined international adversaries now
express concern about how he and his hard-line supporters may react to the tightening regional
and international noose. U.S. military sources believe that pro-Qadhafi forces retain significant
ground-based military capacity, in spite of ongoing coalition strikes. Qadhafi and some of his
supporters have threatened attacks against civilian and military targets outside Libya in response
to the intervention. A stalemate or Qadhafi-sponsored attack outside Libya might increase
pressure on the United States and other outside parties to expand military operations or otherwise
provide assistance to opposition forces. At the same time, international military operations that
provide direct, coordinated protection to any armed advance by opposition forces may jeopardize
the fragile regional and international consensus that allowed the U.N. Security Council to act in

   On March 28, U.S. Joint Staff Director Vice Admiral Bill Gortney stated, “clearly, [opposition forces are] achieving
a benefit from the actions that we're taking.” He emphasized that the U.S. had no contact with front-line opposition
military figures and were not coordinating operations. The announcement that AC-130 gunships and A-10 aircraft were
being used for “precision effect” operations against Libyan military targets raised questions about the potential for U.S.
operations to be seen as providing close air support to opposition fighters.
   U.S. Department of State, “Transcript: NATO Enforcing All Aspects of UNSCR 1973 in Libya,” Brussels, Belgium,
March 27, 2011.
   Testimony of Admiral James Stavridis before the Senate Armed Services Committee, March 29, 2011.

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the first place. Intra-NATO concerns, Arab League views, and the views of Security Council
members, including Russia and China, have proven particularly relevant thus far.

Cease-fire and Political Negotiations. A cease-fire that freezes the status quo as of April 25 may
leave Qadhafi in power and his forces in control of significant amounts of territory and energy
infrastructure. This may present a long-term, if unpredictable threat to pro-opposition civilians or
to those countries participating in the coalition. Similarly, opposition forces may retain control
over much of eastern Libya and key energy infrastructure without being able to assert broader
control. The multilateral arms embargo and sanctions in place may need to be adapted to reflect
any cease-fire that resulted in competing authorities in Libya or led to a negotiated settlement.
The United States and European governments have made general statements about providing
political and potentially economic support to ease any post-Qadhafi transition. However, practical
implementation of those pledges may be challenged by apparent gaps in intelligence about the
makeup and goals of the opposition. Competition among tribal, regional, or political groups that
are not now apparent could emerge during any post-conflict negotiations. The political
ascendance of nonviolent Islamist opposition forces or the emergence of an armed organized
Islamist faction also may create unique challenges.

Competition or Collapse among Opposition Forces. Some expert observers of Libya’s
domestic politics have emphasized the general weakness and fractured condition of Libya’s
political landscape after 40 years of idiosyncratic abuse by Qadhafi and his supporters.
Competition among the opposition might emerge under any conditions, and U.S. military officers
cite the relative weakness of opposition military forces in warning that yet another reversal of the
opposition forces could occur. Opposition ranks might split in the short term over differences in
opinion about a cease-fire and a negotiated settlement or in the long term over the goals and
shape of any post-Qadhafi political arrangements. The United States and Europe have expressed
concern about violent Islamist groups in Libya and were pursuing counterterrorism cooperation
with the Qadhafi government prior to the unrest. Should serious infighting develop on the
opposition side or if advancing volunteer elements break against Qadhafi defenses, the United
States and others may face competing demands to withdraw or redouble their efforts.

Possible Questions
Possible questions that Members of Congress may wish to consider when assessing the ongoing
no-fly zone, arms embargo enforcement, or civilian protection operations and proposed U.S.
assistance to the opposition include:

    •   What is the ultimate political goal of current U.S. policy in Libya? What U.S.
        national interests are at stake? How are no-fly zone operations or other U.S. or
        multilateral military interventions to protect civilians contributing to or detracting
        from that goal? What domestic authorization exists for the use of U.S. military
        forces for such an operation? How might a cease-fire in Libya change these
    •   What regional or international political support and legal authorization exists for
        military operations and how might such support and authorization or lack thereof
        affect the political ramifications of intervention? How might these factors affect
        the operational considerations for the success of current operations, including
        basing and over-flight rights and contributions? How should events unfolding in

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        the broader Middle East and North Africa affect decision making in the Libyan
    •   What key operational objectives need to be achieved in order to consider the no-
        fly zone and civilian protection operations successful? What geographic or time
        parameters should be imposed on the no-fly zone and civilian protection
        operations? What are the operational requirements of no-fly zone and civilian
        protection operations in terms of costs, troop deployments, and equipment needs?
        How are these requirements affecting ongoing U.S. military operations and
        readiness elsewhere?
    •   What unintended consequences may result from current military operations?
        What are the prospects for the United States or its allies being dragged into a
        broader conflict? What precedents have U.S. or multilateral military intervention
        in the Libyan conflict set and how might those precedents affect the context in
        which U.S. decision makers must respond to other regional crises and events?
    •   When and on what terms should U.N. or U.S. sanctions on Libyan entities be
        removed? In the event of a stalemate or negotiated cease-fire, what sanctions
        should be maintained? Why and on what terms?

Libyan Political Dynamics and Profiles

Political Dynamics
In recent years, Libya’s political dynamics have been characterized by competition among
interest groups seeking to influence policy within the confines of the country’s authoritarian
political system and amid Libya’s emergence from international isolation. Economic reforms
embraced changes to Libya’s former socialist model to meet current needs, even as political
reforms languished amid disputes between hard-line political forces and reform advocates. In
general, the legacies of Italian colonial occupation and Libya’s struggle for independence
continue to influence Libyan politics. This is reflected in the celebration of the legacy of the anti-
colonial figure Omar al Mukhtar during the current uprising. Prior to the recent unrest, rhetorical
references to preserving sovereignty and resistance to foreign domination were common in
political statements from all parties. Most Libyans also accept a prominent role for Islamic
tradition in public life: Islam is the official religion and the Quran is the basis for the country’s
law and its “social code.”

Tribal relationships have remained important, particularly with regard to the distribution of
leadership roles in government ministries, in some economic relationships between some social
groups and families, and in political-military relations. Tribal loyalties reportedly remain strong
within and between branches of the armed services, and members of Qadhafi’s tribe, the Qadhafa,
have held many high-ranking government positions. Some members of larger tribes, such as the
Magariha, Misurata, and the Warfalla, have sought to advance their broad interests through
control of official positions of influence and some of their members have opposed the regime on
grounds of tribal discrimination. Some Libyan military and security officials staged limited,
unsuccessful coup attempts against Qadhafi in 1993 and 1996 based in part on tribal and familial
rivalries. Unsuccessful plotters were sentenced to death.

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Prior to the current conflict, the Qadhafi government had performed periodic reassignments and
purges of the officer corps to limit the likelihood of organized opposition reemerging from within
the military. However, these political considerations were largely seen to have affected the
military’s preparedness and war fighting capability and in any case appear not to have prevented
the defection of some military officers and units. Competition for influence among Libya’s
regions characterized the pre-Qadhafi period and some saw the 1969 Qadhafi-led revolution as
having been partly facilitated by western and southern Libyan resentments of the Al Sanusi
monarchy based in eastern Libyan region of Cyrenaica. Contemporary Libyan politics have not
been dominated by overt inter-regional tension, although pro-Qadhafi forces have accused the
organizers and leaders of the current opposition as having, inter alia, an eastern regional separatist
agenda. The opposition ITNC has denied these accusations.

Political parties and all opposition groups are banned in Libya under law number 71 of 1972.
Formal political pluralism has been frowned upon by many members of the ruling elite, even as
in the period preceding the unrest some regime figures had advocated for greater popular
participation in existing government institutions. The lack of widespread experience in formal
political organization, competition, and administration is likely to remain a challenge, regardless
of the military outcome.

Qadhafi and the Libyan Government

Muammar al Qadhafi
Muammar al Qadhafi was born in 1942 near the central coastal city of Sirte. His family belongs
to one of five branches of the relatively small Qadhafa tribe, and his upbringing was modest. As a
young man Qadhafi identified strongly with Arab nationalist and socialist ideologies espoused by
leaders such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser. Although he was excluded from the elite Cyrenaica
Defense Forces on a tribal basis during the Libyan monarchy period, Qadhafi was commissioned
as a regular army captain following stints at the Libyan military academy in Benghazi and the
United Kingdom’s Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Following his return to Libya, he led
the September 1, 1969, overthrow of the Libyan monarchy with a group of fellow officers. He
was 27 years old. His subsequent partnerships and disputes with fellow coup plotters have helped
define Libya’s political dynamics during his rule and are shaping events during the current unrest.

Qadhafi has proven to be a controversial, complex, and contradictory political survivor during his
long reign in Libya, in spite of numerous internal and external challenges to his rule. He has
exercised nearly complete, if, at times, indirect political control over Libya over the last 40-plus
years by carefully balancing and manipulating complex patronage networks, traditional tribal
structures, and byzantine layers of national, regional, and local governance. Libya’s foreign and
domestic policies nominally have been based on his personal ideology. In the past, Qadhafi and
his supporters have imposed his theories with realistic purpose and precision, not hesitating to
crush coup attempts, assassinate dissidents abroad, or sponsor violent movements and terrorist
attacks against Libya’s perceived external enemies. His use of force in response to the 2011
uprising reflects his responses to previous challenges to his continued “guidance.” Opposition
forces and citizens of various political orientations and various levels of capability consistently
have failed to dislodge Qadhafi over the last 40 years, often with terminal results. He remains
defiant in the face of coalition military operations and has sought to rally and arm his supporters.

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The Qadhafi Family and Prominent Officials: Selected Profiles
Personally, Muammar al Qadhafi often is described as mercurial, charismatic, shrewd, and
reclusive. He has been married twice and has eight children: seven sons and one daughter.
Qadhafi’s children play various formal and informal roles in Libyan politics, and some are taking
active public roles in efforts to crush the ongoing revolt.

     •    Sayf al Islam Al Qadhafi. 60 The eldest of Qadhafi’s sons from his current
          marriage, Sayf al Islam was viewed until recently as a strong proponent of
          political reform in Libya, amid some unverified claims about his involvement in
          corrupt business practices. During the crisis he has rallied strongly to the defense
          of the government and his family to the dismay of some of his former
          international interlocutors, including some in the United States. Images of Sayf al
          Islam rallying Qadhafi supporters and threatening opposition forces have
          overshadowed his continuing references to the pursuit of a reform agenda
          following any resolution of the conflict. Skepticism appears to have replaced
          hope in the minds of those outside observers who felt that he could emerge as a
          figure able to lead Libya toward a more open political future. The U.S.
          government has designated Sayf al Islam pursuant to E.O.13566 and he is named
          in the targeted sanctions Annex to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970.
     •    Mutassim Al Qadhafi. Qadhafi’s fifth-eldest son, the 33-year old Mutassim Al
          Qadhafi is a former military officer and serves as national security advisor to his
          father. He visited the United States in late 2009 for consultations with Obama
          Administration officials, including Secretary of State Clinton, with whom he
          appeared publicly. He reportedly has engaged in competition with his brothers
          and other regime figures for influence within Qadhafi’s inner circle. The U.S.
          government has designated him pursuant to E.O.13566 and he is named in the
          targeted sanctions Annex to Resolution 1970.
     •    Khamis Al Qadhafi. Qadhafi’s sixth eldest son, Khamis al Qadhafi commands
          an elite military unit known as the 32nd Brigade that often bears his name in press
          reporting. The unit is rumored to have been on the front line of pro-Qadhafi
          forces’ counterattacks against opposition held areas. The U.S. government has
          designated him pursuant to E.O.13566 and he is named in the targeted sanctions
          Annex to Resolution 1970.
Former intelligence chief and current Foreign Minister Musa Kusa remained supportive of
Qadhafi during the early weeks of the crisis, but defected and fled to the United Kingdom in late
March. Kusa was designated pursuant to Executive Order 13566, but was removed from the
designation list after his defection. National Oil Company chairman Shoukri Ghanem and Prime
Minister Al Baghdadi al Mahmoudi have remained loyal to Qadhafi and were designated pursuant
to E.O.13566 on April 8. The status of some members of Qadhafi’s security establishment and
founding members of the Revolution Command Council that overthrew the monarchy is unclear.
Some are reported to be under house arrest or to have fled Tripoli, including Military Intelligence
and External Security Organization director Abdullah Al Sanusi, General Mustafa al Kharrubi,
and Defense Minister General Abu Bakr Younis Jaber.

   For a detailed profile of Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi and an example of the pre-uprising discussion about the possibility
of his succeeding his father, see Yehudit Ronen, “Libya’s Rising Star: Said Al-Islam and Succession,” Middle East
Policy, Vol. XII, No. 3, Fall 2005, pp. 136-44.

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Opposition Groups
Prior to the 2011 uprising, Libya’s opposition movements were often categorized broadly as
Islamist, royalist, or secular nationalist in orientation. Their activities and effectiveness had been
largely limited by disorganization, rivalry, and ideological differences. New efforts to coordinate
opposition activities had begun in response to Libya’s reintegration to the international
community and the emergence of a broader political reform debate in the Arab world, and gained
momentum with the outbreak of region-wide protests and political change in late 2010 and early
2011. The infusion of popular support and regime defectors to the general opposition cause inside
Libya was welcomed by many established opposition groups, even if the specific political
demands of newly active opposition supporters and their compatibility with the agendas of the
established groups remain unclear. U.S. policymakers continue to seek more information on the
identities and backgrounds of various opposition leaders and groups; the capabilities of armed
opposition supporters; and the intentions, goals, and legitimacy of opposition elements.

Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC)
Opposition groups have formed an Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) that is seeking
international recognition as the representative of the Libyan people from its base in Benghazi. 61
The extent of the group’s domestic political legitimacy and authority is unclear, although its
stated aspirations and appeals are addressed to all Libyans and its claims have been endorsed by
some Libyans abroad, including some Libyan expatriate groups in Europe and the United States.
The ITNC states that many of the local and regional citizen councils that formed across Libya in
the wake of the uprising have endorsed the Council and its agenda. However, limited information
is available about the ITNC’s relationships with many emergent opposition leaders, particularly in
western Libya, whose identities ITNC leaders have claimed need to remain secret for their
protection. To date, France, Italy, Qatar, Kuwait, and the Maldives have formally recognized the
ITNC as the legitimate diplomatic representative of the Libyan people.

Qadhafi and his supporters have accused his opponents, including the ITNC, of having an eastern
regional separatist agenda and of serving as a front for Al Qaeda. The ITNC has denied these
accusations, stressing its broad nationalist orientation and denying formal connections to religious
militants, while acknowledging that some Islamists, including former Libyan Islamic Fighting
Group members, are involved in military operations against pro-Qadhafi forces. ITNC relations
with and views toward tribal groups and local authorities in western and southern Libya that have
remained loyal to Qadhafi are not known. The ITNC’s approach to loyalist groups in western
Libya could prove decisive in negotiating a political solution to the crisis. Some opposition
supporters, including the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, have indicated they will not support the
participation of former government officials in any future transitional political arrangement,
although their positions could change or, in the end, have little effect on political outcomes.

Public reports suggest that a military council has been formed to support the ITNC’s efforts. Its
full make-up is not publicly known, although some prominent figures who have defected from the
security forces apparently are members.62 The leadership of the opposition’s military forces

     Limited, basic information from the ITNC can be found on its website,
  On March 10 and 11, INTC representatives deflected press questions about the military council and indicated its
makeup and plans were “secret” in spite of previous public reports on its makeup. On March 2, London-based Arabic
language newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat published the following list of the makeup of the military council: “Military

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appears to be disputed, with rivalries reported among key figures (see “Opposition Military
Forces” below). ITNC representatives have sought to manage rivalries among leading defectors,
former exiles, and volunteers, while remaining vague about the role of military forces who
defected in the opposition’s efforts to date. Rebel advances westward toward central Libya do not
appear to have featured regular military units, and regular units have not been prominent in
international media coverage of opposition forces’ retreat eastward in the face of an ongoing
counterattacks by pro-Qadhafi forces. ITNC leaders continue to call for robust NATO strikes
against Qadhafi forces and publicly reject open-ended direct military intervention by foreign
ground forces.

The ITNC has laid out key aspects of its political platform and approach to the conflict in a bid to
communicate clearly with domestic supporters and potential international sponsors and donors. In
a March 10 interview with a Spanish newspaper, ITNC chairman Mustafa Abdeljalil outlined the
Council’s plans for a post-Qadhafi political arrangement as follows:

              As soon as the regime falls, we will have six or seven months to call elections. Until
              then, we will respect all international agreements. After the elections, everything will be
              left in the hands of the new leaders. We will leave. None of the current members of the
              Council will run in the elections. Libya is in need of new faces and there will be no
              room for officials from the old regime. Our basic text is the 1951 Constitution to which
              we are of course introducing changes.63

On March 22, a Council statement said,

         The Interim National Council is committed to the ultimate goal of the revolution; namely to
         build a constitutional democratic civil state based on the rule of law, respect for human rights
         and the guarantee of equal rights and opportunities for all its citizens including full political
         participations by all citizens and equal opportunities between men and women and the
         promotion of women empowerment. Libya will become a state which respects universal core
         values that are embedded in the rich cultural diversities around the globe which includes
         justice, freedom, human rights, and non-violence.

On March 29, the Council released a statement on “a vision of a democratic Libya,” which states
the Council’s view of its “obligation” to “draft a national constitution” with separation of
“legislative, executive and judicial powers” and measures to protect free association, political
participation, voting rights, and “freedom of expression through media, peaceful protests,
demonstrations and sit-ins and other means of communication, in accordance with the
constitution and its laws in a way that protects public security and social peace.”

A March 30 statement on counterterrorism affirmed the Council’s support for United Nations
Security Council resolutions on Al Qaeda and the Taliban and U.N. conventions on terrorism. The

Police: Brigadier General Yusuf Lusayfir; Military Intelligence:Col. Hasan Faraj al-Majrisi; Air Force: Brig. Gen.
Miftah Fannush; Air Defense: Col. Muhammad Hammad al-Kazzah; Electronic Communications and Support: Col.
Izz-al-Din al-Isawi; Naval Forces: Capt. Faraj al-Mahdawi; Special Forces: Col. Wanis Bukhamadah; Vehicles and
Technical Affairs: Col. Engineer Najib I'maysh; Supplies and Provisions: Col. Fathi al-Mismari; Missiles: Col.
Muhammad Abd-al-Qadir Salih; Infantry Units: Col. Tariq al-Darsi; Public Security: Brig. Gen. Ashur Shawayil;
Military Prosecution: Col. Salih al-Bishari; and Military Judiciary: Col Al-Amin Abd-al-Wahhab.” See OSC Report
GMP20110302825014, “Report Names Members of Benghazi’s Military Council,” March 2, 2011.
   OSC Report EUP20110311178003, “Libyan Rebel Leader Accuses EU of Worrying More About Oil Than Libyans’
Lives” March 10, 2011.

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statement “affirms the Islamic identity of the Libyan People, its commitment to the moderate
Islamic values, its full rejection to the extremist ideas and its commitment to combating them in
all circumstances, and refuses the allegations aiming to associate al-Qaeda with the revolutionists
in Libya.” This built on the Council’s March 29 statement, which said, “The state to which we
aspire will denounce violence, terrorism, intolerance and cultural isolation; while respecting
human rights, rules and principles of citizenship and the rights of minorities and those most

Prominent ITNC and Opposition Figures64
     •   Mustafa Abdeljalil. (aka Mustafa Abdeljalil Fadl) Serves as chairman of the
         Interim Transitional National Council. He served as Libya’s justice minister from
         2007 through the onset of the uprising. He is known for having been supportive
         of some reform initiatives advanced by Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi and for
         challenging Muammar al Qadhafi and his supporters regarding due process and
         incarceration of prisoners in some prominent legal cases during 2009 and 2010.
         He attempted to resign from his position in early 2010.65 He is a native of Bayda,
         where he once served as chief judge. He is 59 years old. In February, Abdeljalil
         claimed to have evidence that Qadhafi ordered the terrorist attack on Pan Am
         Flight 103. Libyan State Television carried a report on March 9 from the
         government General Bureau for Criminal Investigation offering, “A reward of
         half a million Libyan dinars [about $400,000] … to whoever captures the spying
         agent called Mustafa Muhammad Abdeljalil Fadl and turns him in.”
     •   Mahmoud Jibril. (aka Mahmoud Jibril Ibrahim Al Warfali) Mahmoud Jibril
         serves as the foreign affairs representative for the opposition Interim Transitional
         National Council (ITNC), based in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. He is a
         graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned a masters degree in
         political science and a Ph.D. in planning in the early 1980s. He is 58 years old,
         and is described by personal acquaintances and professional contacts as being
         intelligent, moderate, analytical, detail-oriented, and an articulate English
         speaker. He worked as an independent consultant prior to serving as the secretary
         of the Libyan National Planning Council and director-general of the National
         Economic Development Board (NEDB) from 2007 onward. The NEDB was a
         government entity affiliated with Muammar al Qadhafi’s relatively reform-
         oriented son Sayf al Islam that was tasked with proposing institutional reform
         and attracting foreign investment and educational exchange opportunities to
         Libya. Since early March 2011, Jibril has travelled around Europe and the
         Middle East with his counterpart Ali al Issawi working to secure international
         recognition of and support for the ITNC and the broader opposition movement
         they claim to represent. During this period, Jibril met with Secretary of State
         Hillary Rodham Clinton in Paris and London.

   This section reflects material found in David Gritten, “Key figures in Libya’s rebel council,” BBC News, March 10,
2011, and is supplemented with information derived from other international media and academic sources. Public
profile information remains incomplete or limited for many leading opposition figures and regime defectors.
   OSC Report GMP20100128950040, “Libyan Minister of Justice Resigns Over ‘Harsh’ Criticism in People’s
Congress,” January 28, 2010.

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     •   Ali Al Issawi. Serves as a foreign affairs representative for the Council. He was
         born in Benghazi and is 45 years old. He served as minister of economy, trade,
         and investment from 2007 to 2009.
     •   Fathi Terbil. Serves as the youth representative to the Council. He is a legal
         advocate from Benghazi who represented some families of victims of the 1996
         Abu Salim prison massacre in which Libyan security forces are alleged to have
         murdered over 1,000 prisoners to put down an uprising. His arrest and release on
         February 15, 2011, sparked an initial series of protests and confrontations that
         eventually fueled the broader uprising. In subsequent interviews, he has claimed
         that he was arrested five times prior to the recent unrest and has been tortured by
         Libyan security forces.
     •   Abdel Hafez Ghoga. Serves as vice-chairman and spokesman for the Council.
         He is described in the Libyan press as a “human rights lawyer and community
         organizer.” Reports suggest that Ghoga had been working to organize a national
         transitional council at the same time as Mustafa Abdeljalil and others were
         working to form the ITNC. The two figures reportedly agreed to cooperate.
     •   Dr. Salwa Fawzi al Deghali. Serves as the Council representative for women.
         She is a lawyer and a native of Benghazi. She described her view of the
         challenges facing the opposition in a March 11 interview with an Egyptian
         newspaper: “We have never had any real organizational experience in Libya,
         through parties or independent professional associations. Suddenly, we have an
         entire city to run.”66
     •   Ahmed al Zubayr al Sanusi. Serves as a Council member. He is known as
         “Libya’s longest-serving ‘prisoner of conscience’” because he was jailed on
         accusations of plotting a coup in 1970 and not released until 2001. He is a
         relative of former King Idris.

Opposition Military Forces
A military council has been established in parallel to the ITNC to coordinate the efforts of
volunteers and defectors. Regular military forces that have defected to the opposition cause have
not been consistently visible in leadership roles in operations thus far, although some media
reports suggest that some officers are providing guidance and training to the lightly armed and
predominantly young volunteers who appear to make up the core of the opposition forces. Those
forces include the “17 February Forces,” the “Army of Free Libya,” and groups made up of
various secular and Islamist volunteers. Consistent coordination among these different elements is
not apparent, and key figures Abdelfattah Younis al Ubaydi and Khalifah Belqasim Haftar
reportedly are competing for leadership of the opposition’s overall efforts.67 Reporting from
combat areas in eastern Libya regularly describes the opposition as mostly untrained, poorly
equipped, uncoordinated, and without professional logistics or communications support.68

   OSC Report GMP20110311966049, “Benghazi’s lawyers, Libya’s revolutionaries,” March 11, 2011.
   Kareem Fahim, “Rebel leadership shows signs of strain in Libya,” New York Times, April 4, 2011; Kim Sengupta,
“Divided and disorganised, Libyan rebel military turn on NATO allies,” The Independent (UK), April 7, 2011; and,
Rod Nordland, “As British Help Libyan Rebels, Aid Goes to a Divided Force,” New York Times, April 19, 2011.
   One early April account described the opposition forces as follows: “The hard core of the fighters has been the
shabaab—the young people whose protests in mid-February sparked the uprising. They range from street toughs to

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Prominent opposition military and security figures include

     •    Omar al Hariri. Serves as the military affairs representative (or “defense
          minister”) on the ITNC. Hariri participated in 1969 anti-monarchy coup
          alongside Qadhafi, but later was imprisoned and sentenced to death on suspicion
          of plotting an uprising in 1975. He was moved to Tobruk and placed under house
          arrest in 1990. He is 67 years old. He has been quoted as calling for “a multi-
          party system” in the event that Qadhafi is deposed.
     •    Abdelfattah Younis al Ubaydi. Participated in the 1969 anti-monarchy coup
          alongside Qadhafi. He had been serving as minister for public security and a
          special forces commander, which put him in charge of some internal security
          forces through the start of the uprising. His resignation and defection came just
          hours after Muammar al Qadhafi specifically named him as one of his key
          supporters in a February 22 speech. Human rights concerns prior to and
          potentially during the beginning of the unrest could have involved forces under
          his command. He is identified as the ITNC-appointed leader of military
          operations by some opposition forces, and he remains an outspoken advocate for
          the opposition cause in interviews with international media outlets.
     •    Colonel Khalifah Belqasim Haftar. A veteran of the ill-fated Libyan invasion of
          Chad during the 1980s, he turned against Qadhafi. Colonel Haftar returned to
          Libya from exile in the United States after the uprising began. 69 In the past,
          Haftar has been mentioned as a leader of the Libyan Movement for Change and
          Reform and the Libyan National Army, an armed opposition group reported to
          have received support from foreign intelligence agencies and alleged to have
          been involved in past attempts to overthrow Qadhafi. 70 Press reports suggest
          Haftar is now contributing to opposition training and command efforts and has
          either taken or been granted the rank/title of General. Reports also suggest that
          the ITNC may have sought to remove him from a command role, and that Haftar
          has resisted those efforts.
     •    Major Abdelmoneim Al Huni. An original member of the Revolution
          Command Council, Al Huni had been serving as Libya’s representative to the
          Arab League and resigned in protest of the use of force against protestors.
          Regional press accounts from the 1990s describe Al Huni as having coordinated
          with the opposition efforts of Colonel Haftar and others, before Al Huni
          reconciled with Qadhafi in 2000.

university students (many in computer science, engineering, or medicine), and have been joined by unemployed
hipsters and middle-aged mechanics, merchants, and storekeepers. There is a contingent of workers for foreign
companies: oil and maritime engineers, construction supervisors, translators. There are former soldiers, their gunstocks
painted red, green, and black—the suddenly ubiquitous colors of the pre-Qaddafi Libyan flag. And there are a few
bearded religious men, more disciplined than the others, who appear intent on fighting at the dangerous tip of the
advancing lines. … With professional training and leadership (presumably from abroad), the rebels may eventually turn
into something like a proper army. But, for now, they have perhaps only a thousand trained fighters, and are woefully
outgunned.” Jon Lee Anderson, “Who are the Rebels?” The New Yorker, April 4, 2011.
   Chris Adams, “Libyan rebel leader spent much of past 20 years in suburban Virginia,” McClatchy Newspapers,
March 26, 2011.
  OSC Report FTS19960821000373, “U.S.-Based Oppositionist Has ‘Secret Meetings’ Near Tripoli,” August 21,

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     •    Fawzi Bukatef. A civilian volunteer and petroleum engineer. Bukatef reportedly
          has led training efforts for other civilian volunteers and forces affiliated with him
          reportedly have received hundreds of AK-47 assault rifles from a foreign donor. 71

Exiles and Al Sanusi Monarchy Figures
Complex relationships among former regime figures, competing heirs to the former monarchy,
and long-standing opposition leaders may evolve as the conflict unfolds and if specific
arrangements begin to be made for reconciliation and/or a new government.

Opposition groups in exile have included the National Alliance, the Libyan National Movement
(LNM), the Libyan Movement for Change and Reform, the Islamist Rally, the National Libyan
Salvation Front (NLSF), and the Republican Rally for Democracy and Justice. These groups and
others held an opposition conference—known as the National Conference for the Libyan
Opposition (NCLO)—in July 2005 in London and issued a “national accord,” calling for the
removal of Qadhafi from power and the establishment of a transitional government.72 A follow-up
meeting was held in March 2008.73 The NCLO reportedly helped lead the call for the February
17, 2011, “day of rage” that helped catalyze protests into a full-blown uprising against the
Qadhafi regime.

A royalist contingent based on the widely recognized claim to the leadership of the royal family
by Mohammed al Rida al Sanusi, the son of the former crown prince, has been based in London. 74
His claim is disputed by a distant relative, whose family members also have given interviews to
international media outlets. On April 20, Mohammed al Sanusi met with members of the
European Parliament and said, “it is up to the Libyan people to decide whether they go down the
road of a constitutional monarchy or that of a republic.” The Libyan constitutional monarchy
system was overturned by Qadhafi in 1969, and Al Sanusi believes the old constitution, if
“suitably updated,” could “form the basis of a new Libya.” He also has pledged to “assist in
creating a democratic state for Libyans based on a representative parliament chosen by free and
fair elections.”

In a September 2005 interview, then-Foreign Minister Abd al Rahman Shalgam characterized
some of the regime’s expatriate opponents as individuals who fled the country after committing
economic crimes or collaborating with foreign intelligence services. He then invited any
expatriate dissidents who had not committed crimes to return to Libya.75 Shalgam has now joined

   Rod Nordland, “As British Help Libyan Rebels, Aid Goes to a Divided Force,” New York Times, April 19, 2011.
   May Youssef, “Anti-Gaddafists Rally in London,” Al Ahram Weekly (Cairo), No. 749, June 30 - July 6, 2005; Al
Jazeera (Doha), “Opposition Plans to Oust Al Qadhafi,” June 25, 2005; Middle East Mirror, “Libya’s Fractured
Opposition,” July 29, 2005.
   “Libyan Opposition Groups Meet in London To Reiterate Commitment To Save Libya,” OSC Report
GMP20080329825012, March 29, 2008.
   His family name also is transliterated as Al Senussi. Immediately prior to his departure for medical treatment in
August 1969, the late King Idris signaled his intent to abdicate and pass authority to his crown prince and nephew,
Hasan al Rida al Mahdi al Sanusi. Crown Prince Hasan was serving as regent during the Qadhafi coup, and he and his
family were imprisoned and placed under house arrest until being allowed to leave Libya in the late 1980s. Each of
King Idris’s potential direct heirs died as children. Upon Prince Hasan’s death in 1992, he passed the title of head of the
Al Sanusi royal house to his son, Prince Mohammed al Rida al Sanusi.
   “Libya’s Shalgam on Ties With US, S. Arabia, Opposition,” OSC Report GMP20050924512001, September 24,

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the opposition movement and is speaking as a representative of the ITNC in Washington, DC, and
at the United Nations in New York.

The Muslim Brotherhood
A statement attributed to the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood in late February 2011 welcomed the
formation of the ITNC but called for a future, non-tribal government to “be formed by those who
actually led the revolution on the ground” and to exclude supporters of the original Qadhafi coup
or officials involved in human rights violations. 76 This would seem to implicate some original
Qadhafi allies and security officials who have defected to the opposition cause. In the past, the
controller general of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, Suleiman Abdel Qadir, has described the
Brotherhood’s objectives as peaceful and policy-focused, and has long called for the cancellation
of laws restricting political rights.77

Like other political organizations and opposition groups, the Muslim Brotherhood is banned in
Libya under law number 71 of 1972. Since the late 1940s, when members of the Egyptian
Muslim Brotherhood first entered Libya following a crackdown on their activities, the Libyan
Muslim Brotherhood has existed as a semi-official organization. Hundreds of Brotherhood
members and activists were jailed in 1973, although the Brotherhood eventually reemerged and
operated as a clandestine organization for much of the following two decades. In 1998, a second
round of mass arrests took place, and 152 Brotherhood leaders and members were arrested.
Several reportedly died in custody, and, following trials in 2001 and 2002, two prominent
Brotherhood leaders were sentenced to death and over 70 were sentenced to life in prison. The
government announced a retrial for the imprisoned Brotherhood activists in October 2005, and in
March 2006, the group’s 84 remaining imprisoned members were released.78

Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)/Libyan Islamic Movement for
Change (LIMC)
Prior to the 2011 uprising that began in eastern Libya, some reports examined whether the region
was a stronghold for Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) members and other extremist groups
that might pose a threat to Libya’s security and potentially to regional security.79 Some Members
of Congress have expressed concern that violent Islamists may seek to exploit the conflict in
Libya or any post-conflict transition. On March 29, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

   OSC Report GMP20110228405001, “Libyan Muslim Brotherhood Group Supports ‘Glorious Revolution,’” February
28, 2011.
   In 2007, Abdel Qadir responded to political reform statements by Sayf al Islam al Qadhafi with calls for more
inclusive, consultative decision making. In a November 2008 interview, Abdel Qadir noted that reform outreach was
taking place under the auspices of the Qadhafi Foundation and not through official state organs, which in his view
undermined the significance of the outreach. He also repeated calls for reform and reconciliation aimed at creating a
constitution and protecting civil rights for Libyans. See OSC Report GMP20050803550006, “Al Jazirah TV Interviews
Libyan Muslim Brotherhood Leader on Current Situation,” August 3, 2005; OSC Report GMP20070830282001,
“Libyan MB Concerned Over Sayf al-Islam’s Statements Regarding New Constitution,” August 30, 2007; and, OSC
Report GMP20081111635001, “Libyan Muslim Brotherhood Official on Libya’s Foreign, Domestic Politics,”
November 10, 2008.
   Afaf El Geblawi, “Libya Frees All Jailed Muslim Brotherhood Members,” Agence France Presse, March 3, 2006.
   Peraino, “Destination Martyrdom,” Newsweek, April 19, 2008. For more information on AQIM see CRS Report
RS21532, Algeria: Current Issues, by Alexis Arieff, and CRS Report R41070, Al Qaeda and Affiliates: Historical
Perspective, Global Presence, and Implications for U.S. Policy, coordinated by John Rollins.

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U.S. Admiral James Stavridis said in Senate testimony that, at present, he does not have “detail
sufficient to say that there’s a significant Al Qaida presence or any other terrorist presence in and
among” the Libyan opposition.80 The full effect of the ongoing unrest on the views, positions, and
activities of former-LIFG personnel and other potentially armed Islamist groups has not yet been
determined, although some former LIFG members appear to be providing security in opposition
held areas and engaging in fighting against pro-Qadhafi forces. Libyan government officials
claim that some LIFG members previously released as part of the government-approved
reconciliation process participated in violence at the beginning of the recent uprising and the
government has accused some individuals of seeking to establish “Islamic emirates” in eastern
Libya.81 Some opposition figures have decried the government accusations as scare tactics.

The LIFG is an Islamist movement that used violence as a means to overthrow the Qadhafi
government.82 In recent years, its then-imprisoned leaders engaged in a dialogue and
reconciliation process with the Qadhafi Foundation, and over 200 LIFG members were released,
including senior leaders and former commanders (see below). 83 Some Libya-based members of
the LIFG responded to the release of leading figures on February 16 by announcing the
reorganization of the group as the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change (LIMC). The LIMC
demands political change and an end to corruption, and has underscored its decision to “enter a
new stage of struggle in which we do not adopt an armed program but a belief in the Libyan
people’s ability to bring about the change to which we are aspiring.”84 Muammar al Qadhafi has
both blamed Al Qaeda and violent Islamists for instigating the uprising, and, on March 15, he
threatened to join them if the United States or European countries intervened militarily in the

Al Qaeda Affiliation and Recantations
The United States froze the LIFG’s U.S. assets under Executive Order 13224 in September 2001,
and formally designated the LIFG as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in December 2004. In
February 2006, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated five individuals and four entities
in the United Kingdom as Specially Designated Global Terrorists for their role in supporting the

   Testimony of Admiral James Stavridis before the Senate Armed Services Committee, March 29, 2011.
   Libyan authorities specifically named Abdelkarim Ahsadi [a likely misspelling of Abdelhakim Al Hasadi],
Khayrallah Barasi, Mohamed Darnawi, and Abou Sofian Ben Guemou, a former U.S. detainee at Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba, who Libyan officials released in September 2010. Libyan government claims have not been independently
verified. OSC Report GMP20110223950040, “Senior Libyan Security Official Gives Details on Unrest in Benghazi
Tripoli,” February 22, 2011.
   According to the State Department, the LIFG has attempted to assassinate Qadhafi four times, but “has been largely
inactive operationally in Libya since the late 1990s.” The August 2010 State Department report on terrorism noted the
reconciliation announcements in Libya and stated that, “To date, the November 3, 2007 merger with AQ, which many
LIFG members in Europe and Libya did not recognize, has not resulted in a significant increase in LIFG activities
within Libya.” See U.S. Department of State, “Terrorist Organizations: LIFG,” Country Reports on Terrorism 2009,
August 2010.
   Prominent prisoners released under the auspices of the reconciliation program include former LIFG leader
Abdelhakim al Khuwaylidi Belhadj, former military director Khaled Sharif, and leading LIFG ideologue Sami Sa’idi.
OSC Report GMP20100323950045, “Three leaders of Libyan Fighting Group freed – paper,” March 23, 2010.
   OSC Report GMP20110217825017, “Libya: IFG Elements Establish New Group Aiming for Peaceful Regime
Change,” February 17, 2011.
 OSC Report EUP20110315058001, “'Exclusive’ Interview With Al-Qadhafi on Insurgency, Western Ties, US, Al-
Qa'ida,” March 15, 2011.

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LIFG.86 On October 30, 2008, Treasury designated three more LIFG financiers.87 Some observers
characterized the designations as a U.S. gesture of solidarity with the Libyan government and
argued that the ability and willingness of the LIFG to mount terror attacks in Libya may have
been limited. Others claimed that some LIFG fighters were allied with other violent Islamist
groups operating in the trans-Sahara region, and cited evidence of Libyan fighters joining the
Iraqi insurgency as an indication of ongoing Islamist militancy in Libya and a harbinger of a
possible increase in violence associated with fighters returning from Iraq.88

In November 2007, Al Qaeda figures Ayman al Zawahiri and Abu Layth al Libi announced the
merger of the LIFG with Al Qaeda, which many terrorism analysts viewed at the time as having
political rather than operational relevance. 89 Abu Layth Al Libi was killed in an air strike in
Pakistan in February 2008. The group’s reported ties with Al Qaeda came under scrutiny in July
2009 after group members based in Britain reportedly renounced the group’s affiliation with Al
Qaeda, and contrasted the LIFG with others who use indiscriminate bombing and target
civilians. 90 The statement warned that the group would “preserve [its] lawful and natural right to
oppose the regime if it does not turn its back on its previous policy that has led to tension and

The Libyan government and the LIFG reached an agreement in which LIFG leaders renounced
violence against the Libyan state, and, later in 2009, the dialogue resulted in the issuance of
written “recantations” of the LIFG’s former views on religion and violence. 91 In October 2009,
over 40 LIFG prisoners were released, alongside other Islamists. However, Libyan and U.S.
concerns about LIFG’s domestic and international activities persisted. Qadhafi announced the
release of the final 110 “reconciled” LIFG members at the outset of the 2011 uprising, reportedly
including Abdelwahhab Muhammad Qayid, who has been identified in some sources as the
brother of prominent Al Qaeda ideologue Abu Yahya al Libi. In March 2011, Abu Yahya Al Libi
released a video condemning Qadhafi and calling on Libyans to use arms against Qadhafi
supporters, but to refrain from violence or criminality against each other.92

   U.S. Department of the Treasury, “Treasury Designates UK-Based Individuals, Entities Financing Al Qaida-
Affiliated LIFG,” JS-4016, February 8, 2006.
   U.S. Department of the Treasury, “Three LIFG Members Designation for Terrorism,” HP-1244, October 30, 2008.
 Alison Pargeter, “Militant Groups Pose Security Challenge for Libyan Regime,” Janes Intelligence Review, Vol. 17,
No. 8, August 2005, pp. 16-19.
   OSC Report FEA20071104393586, “Al-Zawahiri, Al-Libi: Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Joins Al-Qa’ida,”
November 3, 2007.
   In a July 2009 statement, LIFG members in Britain characterized the November 2007 Al Qaeda affiliation
announcement from the late Abu Layth Al Libi as “a personal decision that is at variance with the basic status of the
group,” and sought to “clearly emphasize that the group is not, has never been, and will never be, linked to the Al
Qaeda organization.” OSC Report GMP20090703825003, “Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Abroad Issues Statement
Supporting Regime Dialogue,” July 3, 2009.
   “Report on ‘Seething Anger’ in Libya Over Dismantling Al Qa’ida-Linked Cells,” OSC Report
GMP20080630825001 June 30, 2008; “Libya: Jailed Islamic Group Leaders ‘Preparing’ To Renounce Armed
Violence,” OSC Report GMP20080706837002, July 6, 2008; “Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Source Announces
Ideology Revision Nearly Complete,” OSC Report GMP20090615825012, June 15, 2009; and OSC Reports,
GMP20090911452001, GMP20090911452002, GMP2009091145200, GMP20090910488004, GMP20090911452004,
GMP20090915452001, “Libyan Newspaper Publishes Libyan Fighting Group Retractions,” September 2009.
   OSC Report GMP20110313479001, “New Abu-Yahya al-Libi Video: ‘To Our People in Libya,’” March 12, 2011.

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                                                                                       Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM/AQIM)
U.S. government officials and their regional counterparts remain focused on the potential for the
unrest in Libya to provide opportunities to Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Lands of
the Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM/AQIM). Some press reports suggest that AQIM personnel have
obtained weaponry from looted Libyan military stockpiles, including surface-to-air missiles. The
Algerian and Chadian governments continue to express concern about the potential for instability
in Libya to weaken security along Libya’s long borders, which could allow AQIM operatives and
criminal networks that provide services to AQIM to move more freely.

While the imprisoned, Libya-based leaders of the LIFG participated in reconciliation with
Qadhafi’s government and renounced violence as a domestic political tool, the participation of
some of their supporters in efforts to send Libyans abroad to participate in insurgencies and
terrorism has raised concerns about the potential for cooperation between AQIM and some
Libyan Islamists. One former LIFG figure, Abdelhakim Al Hasadi, is leading ad hoc security
arrangements in the eastern city of Darnah, which was home to several dozen Libyan recruits who
travelled to Iraq to fight U.S. and coalition forces.93 Al Hasadi claims to have recruited Libyans to
fight in Iraq, but has publicly denied accusations he is affiliated with Al Qaeda or is seeking to
establish Islamist rule in Darnah or on a national basis.94

On April 16, London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat published an email interview with a
reported spokesman for AQIM named Salah Abu Muhammad, who confirmed reports that AQIM
had obtained weaponry from Libyan military stockpiles and claimed that AQIM had cooperative
relationships with Al Hasadi and so-called “emirates” in several eastern Libyan cities. A
subsequent statement from another reported AQIM source accused Algerian intelligence services
of fabricating the Abu Muhammad interview. 95 Neither source could be independently verified.

A March 17 statement attributed to AQIM leader Abdelmalik Droukdel (aka Abu Mus’ab al
Wudud) addressed Libyan rebels and sought to associate the Libyan uprising with Al Qaeda’s
campaign against Arab and Western governments.96 The statement advised Libyans to avoid
cooperation with the United States and “to rally around the revolutionary leaders who are holding
fast to their Islamic faith and whose readiness to make sacrifices has been proven on the
battlefield.” Other AQIM figures have sought to explain that their organization is not seeking to
direct or claim credit for the Libyan uprising, but that AQIM is supportive of the campaign
against Qadhafi. As noted above, U.S. and regional observers continue to monitor statements
from and actions by AQIM and Libyan Islamists closely.

   Kevin Peraino, “Destination Martyrdom,” Newsweek, April 19, 2008.
   Al Hasadi appeared on Al Jazeera and read a statement denying the Libyan government’s accusations. See OSC
Report GMP20110225648002, “Libya: Former LIFG Leader Denies Plan To Establish 'Islamic Emirate' in Darnah,”
February 25, 2011; and, OSC Report EUP20110322025008, “Libya: Rebel Leader in Derna Denies Local Presence of
Extremists, Al-Qa'ida,” March 22, 2011.
   See OSC Report GMP20110416825001, “Al-Qa’ida in Islamic Maghreb Spokesman Says There Are Islamic
Amirates in Libya,” April 16, 2011; and, OSC Report AFP20110418950070, “AQIM accuses Al-Hayat newspaper of
falsifying interview with spokesman,” April 18, 2011.
   Droukdel said “the battle you are fighting now with the tyrant...It is itself the battle we fought yesterday and are
fighting today.” See OSC Report GMP20110318405002, “AQIM Amir’s Audio Message to Libya, ‘The Descendants
of Umar al-Mukhtar,’” March 17, 2011.

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                                                             Figure 2. Political Map of Libya

   Source: Congressional Cartography Program, Library of Congress, Edited by CRS.

                                  Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

Author Contact Information

Christopher M. Blanchard
Acting Section Research Manager, 7-0428

Congressional Research Service                              39

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